A primary factor in the Pelicans’ success so far this season – which now includes a sweep of the higher-seeded Trail Blazers in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs – has been the stellar play of combo guard Jrue Holiday, writes Matt John of Basketball Insiders.
Having been somewhat hampered by injuries and personal matters since the Pelicans traded for him in the summer of 2013, Holiday has been a revelation so far this postseason, having increased his scoring output from 19.0 PPG in the regular season – a career-high – to 27.8 PPG in the playoffs, while also playing stifling defense on Portland’s All-Star point guard Damian Lillard.
Yet, the advanced statistics demonstrate that Holiday has actually been playing at an All-Star level all season long, regardless of whether the casual basketball fan realized it or not. For example, the Pelicans had an offensive rating of 108.9 points per 100 possessions when he was the on the court – would have ranked 7th – compared to 104.4 points per 100 possessions when he was off – would have ranked 21st.
Holiday was even more important to the Pelicans on the defensive end of the floor, where the team had a defensive rating of 103.3 per 100 possessions when Holiday was on the court – would have ranked 5th – compared to 112.3 off the court – would have ranked dead last, 30th overall.
Holiday’s net rating was also higher than that of Pelicans MVP-candidate teammate Anthony Davis, and his 3.81 Real Plus-Minus ranked ninth among point guards, which put him ahead of Kyrie Irving, John Wall, and Goran Dragic, all of whom made the All-Star team this year, albeit in the Eastern Conference.
Holiday will look to continue his stellar play on Saturday when the Pelicans head to Oakland to take on the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
There’s more out of New Orleans this evening:
- With Davis under contract through the 2020/21 season and not eager to leave town, the Pelicans are on track to becoming the next small-market success, writes Brett Martel of The Associated Press.
- In a piece from Christian Boutwell of The Advocate, injured Pelicans’ big man DeMarcus Cousins says he “couldn’t be happier for this team” after a sweep of the Trail Blazers. Cousins also touched on his rehab for a torn left Achilles, saying “I’m improving each and every day and I’m improving a pretty rapid pace as well. That keeps my energy high, my positive vibes going.”
- As we relayed Monday night, the Pelicans have informed head coach Alvin Gentry that his team option for next season will be picked up, thereby all but guaranteeing that Gentry will coach the Pelicans during the 2018/19 season.