After watching the New Orleans Pelicans & Portland Trail Blazers NBA playoff series last season, I really became a fan of Jrue Holiday’s game. His defensive presence on one of the best players in the NBA, Damian Lillard, was evident throughout the series and following the 2017-2018 season he was selected 1st-Team All-NBA Defense. Holiday, however, isn’t just a defensive presence, he’s a major factor on the offensive end as well. To illustrate Holiday’s ability on the offensive end of the floor I did a video breakdown along with some analysis on what makes him one of the most effective, yet underrated players in the NBA.
Note: The times in parentheses correspond with the times in the video.
Finishing (0:06-1:10): Holiday’s biggest strength is his ability to get to the basket and finish in a multitude of different ways. He finishes with both hands, on both sides, off one and two feet at a very high level. Holiday excels at using his body as a shield and then creating separation with the basketball outside of his body. Many times you will see him jump off his outside leg and use his inside leg as a means for ball protection when playing off one foot. Very rarely do you see him rushed or out of control at the rim- he plays and finishes at his own pace.
Post Play (1:12-1:40): Holiday is a strong guard, but he doesn’t solely rely on strength to score around the rim. His footwork is exceptional- both when he has the basketball and when he is looking to get position in the post. You’ll see him catch defenders off guard with a “quick spin” when they are playing too close and overly-physical.
Shooting off the Catch (1:42-2:08): Holiday isn’t considered an elite shooter, but is certainly a proficient one- especially when left open. On almost every shot he attempts he lands balanced on two feet. You’ll see him shoot off both the 1-2 and the hop.
Shooting off the Dribble (2:10-2:26): He’d rather attack you going toward the rim, but when the defense gives him room out of respect for his ability to attack, Holiday can make people pay.
Change of Speed (2:28-2:52): Holiday does a great job of slowing down, using his eyes, and then re-accelerating to get to spots on the floor. One of my favorite things about Holiday’s game is that he is always under control. Acceleration and deceleration aren’t always in the conversation or seen as “sexy” athletic variables, but players like Holiday who excel at it can get to their spots and create separation at a very high level.
PNR Scoring (2:55-3:30): Holiday scores at all three levels in the ball screen. When defenders go under, he can make them pay by stopping behind the screen and knocking down shots. When teams use a “drop” coverage on him he does an exceptional job of snaking and putting his defender in jail- again- never in a hurry and takes what the defense gives him.
PNR Passing (3:34-4:05): It helps having Anthony Davis to play pick and roll with, but regardless of that, Holiday is a good decision-maker in ball screen situations. His pace allows him to scan, survey and find where rotation is coming from and ultimately find the open man. Much like his finishing, he’s very good at passing with both his left and right hand.
Pivot to Pass (4:07-4:21): It sounds like a broken record, but Holiday is rarely in a hurry. He uses pivots & shot fakes to create passing angles for teammates when his option to score is taken away.