For Davis, the Pelicans picked up some draft picks, along with a plethora of young talent. Now, the team isn’t even recognizable to the roster they had last year.
Jrue Holiday is still there as the veteran star. However, he now has an exciting young-but-experienced core around him that consists of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Derrick Favors (a solid under-the-radar free agent signing). They also added veteran sharpshooter J.J. Redick to hopefully finally solve the Pelicans’ shooting woes.
Despite all of this though, it’s that returning player that will be the leader of the team. Holiday now has the keys to the castle. What should you expect from him this upcoming season?
Here are three way-too-early bold predictions for Jrue Holiday in the 2019-20 season.
3. New Career-High in Assists Per Game
Holiday has had Anthony Davis with him for the last few seasons. That’s an excellent target for assists. However, Davis is just one man.
This is definitely the most well-rounded Pelicans team Holiday has ever been on. He has an elite sharpshooter in Redick and a strong scoring threat in Ingram. Favors can bang down low as well and Williamson should provide a ton of electric alley-oops.
Yes, Ball could take some assists away from him, as he’s primarily a passing guard. However, Holiday has played with a lot of other point guards in the past. Last year, he was on the same roster as Elfrid Payton and still managed 7.7 assists per game, the second-most in his career. There’s no reason to believe he can’t improve upon that.
For what it’s worth, Holiday’s career-high at the moment is 8.0. He did that in the 2012-13 season, his last with the Philadelphia 76ers. While that’s a very strong number, it’s also a reasonable target and something he can beat.
2. Shoots 37%-Plus from Three-Point Range
At first glance, this may not seem that bold. I mean, Holiday is a career 35.5% shooter from three-point range. For him to hit 37%, he wouldn’t need to do that much better than his career average.
However, 37% from three isn’t a number Holiday has had since the 2014-15 season.
In 2017-18, Holiday made just 33.7% and last year he hit on a career worst 32.5% from deep. So what will change this year, you ask?
It all goes back to the same reason he’ll hit a new mark in assists, his team. The team around Holiday has a lot of talent. Specifically, it has scorers. Redick is the first truly elite three-point shooter the Pelicans have had in a ridiculously long time.
Redick alone will space the floor and help get players like Holiday more open looks. He’ll also take pressure off of Holiday to shoot as many threes. Last year, if the Pelicans needed a three-ball, they had to rely on Holiday’s shaky shot far too often.
It’s not just Redick though. Ingram and Williamson especially will take a good amount of attention away from Holiday and again keep him from too many pressured shots.
This could be a fun year for Holiday, as he could be seeing more open threes than ever.
1. Makes An All-NBA Team
Holiday has only made one All-Star team. He has made an All-NBA defensive team twice. One thing Holiday has never done though, is make an All-NBA team.
Yes, he should’ve made more All-Star games. He’s also one of the best defensive guards in basketball (and arguably a top-five defender in basketball no matter the position). Due to that, he should’ve been first-team All-Defense last year instead of second team.
Those aren’t the points though. The point is that an All-NBA team appearance is very possible for Holiday, although it hasn’t happened yet.
Holiday’s clamps are already the best in the NBA, as we’ve discussed. He’s also someone capable of putting up 20 points every night and can get you around 10 assists. Those numbers, along with his elite defense, means he deserves a lot more recognition than he gets.
Once again, Holiday will find himself in a major spotlight in the 2019-20 season. Even though that spotlight on the Pelicans is mainly focused on someone else (this time it’s Zion Williamson), it still gives a chance for others to shine.
I’m not saying it has to be the first team. But don’t be surprised if Jrue Holiday shines and finds his way onto an All-NBA team.