Jrue Holiday is versatile enough to play on and off the ball
When talking about hypothetical trades involving superstars, one of the biggest concerns we hear from the team receiving said star is “they’ll ruin the flow of the offense, because they need the ball in their hands to be effective”. The majority of backcourt stars in particular struggle to be a factor in the game when the ball isn’t in their hands.
Whilst I believe Jrue Holiday is the tier below a superstar, he’s also a unicorn because he’s one of the only high-level backcourt players in the league who is equally at home either on or off the ball.
Last season in New Orleans, Holiday was asked to initiate a lot of the half-court offense, because that’s not a strong point of Lonzo Ball‘s game yet. As a result, his off-ball movement for the season only graded in the 29th percentile according to BBall Index.
However, the trade-off was some incredibly impressive playmaking, with his advanced passing numbers sitting between the 91st and 98th percentile across a variety of metrics. With better teammates to pass to, those numbers likely would’ve been even stronger.
The season prior, Jrue played alongside a point guard who was far more adept than Ball at running a half-court offense, Elfrid Payton. As a result, Jrue was asked to play a lot more off the ball. His off-ball movement was in the 93rd percentile across the league and his points-per-game (21.2) for the season were the highest of his career.
For the 2020-21 season, the two biggest weaknesses on the Lakers’ roster appear to be a secondary wing scorer when LeBron sits on the bench and, with all due respect to Playoff Rondo, a secondary playmaker to run the offense when LeBron sits on the bench.
Jrue Holiday is the rare third star that addresses both those needs in one player. Entering his age 31 season, he’s shown throughout his career that he’s equally adept at both running an offense and being an efficient secondary scoring option.