Throughout the offseason, we’ll be counting down the Top 50 players in the NBA from 50 to 1. Who will just miss the cut? Which names do you expect to see? Regardless, you’ll be able to find them all right here.
Why He’s Great: Jrue Holiday has every NBA skill. He is above-average across the board. He makes almost 37 percent of his three-pointers. Additionally, he plays very good defense when he’s healthy and is big enough to switch to some extent. His assist-to-turnover ratio was better than Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry and Stephen Curry. His rebounding rate of 6.4 percent places him 14th among starting point guards. He scored 0.81 points per possession on pick-and-rolls playing on a team with very little spacing.
There is not a direct weakness in Jrue Holiday’s game. He can do anything. He doesn’t have the hyper-specific skill set some of the league’s best guards do, but he comes with none of the drawbacks those players create either. You’d rather have Russell Westbrook, but it’s certainly easier to build a team around Holiday than it is Westbrook. You can stick him with anyone and he’ll make it work. The same cannot be said for Westbrook. Any team could use a Jrue Holiday. That’s why he’s on this list.
Why He’s Below No. 46 (Brook Lopez): Those last few sentences were meant to be complimentary, but they go both ways. Holiday isn’t a star. You tolerate weaknesses when the strengths are great enough, and the strengths Brook Lopez offers are far greater than Holiday’s. Any good coaching staff would rather try to make Brook Lopez work than settle for Holiday. Lopez is a star offensively. That’s enough to take him over Holiday, who is a star on neither end. Holiday also comes with significant injury risk. He has not played more than 67 games in a season as a Pelican. Lopez comes with injury risks as well, but mobility is far less important to his game than Jrue’s. A guard who can’t move is useless. A center who can’t move is… well… a center. Draymond Green is not yet the norm.
Holiday isn’t close to that point yet and was healthier last year than at any other point in his New Orleans tenure, but the risk is great enough to make you worry slightly more than you do with Lopez. At least with Brook he’ll have to prove his health for another year. But Jrue is already on a huge contract. There’s no going back.