When Jrue Holiday signed a whopping five-year, $125 million contract with New Orleans last summer, a shudder shot down the spines of Pelicans fans everywhere.
It was an awful lot of money for someone who’d missed 122 games over his first four years with the team, and someone who’d rarely been identified as top-10 point guard.
And yet, less than a year after inking that deal, he has spearheaded New Orleans’ stunning double takedown of Portland in the playoffs.
Holiday isn’t the best player in this series, but he might be the most important.
— NBA (@NBA) April 18, 2018
New Orleans more or less knew what they were getting from Anthony Davis this postseason (sheer destruction, just in case you were wondering) but Holiday taking it to the next level has proved to be the difference-maker.
He’s been their most impactful player at both ends.
Jrue calmly tore the Blazers to shreds at the offensive end in game two on Tuesday, and his All-Defence worthy dirty work has been the single biggest reason Portland’s lauded backcourt hasn’t been able to get it going.
Holiday’s ability to stay in front of defenders and challenge them aggressively, both in the air and on the ground, has been as devastating as his knack for knifing his way to the rim and finishing with ease.
To really rub salt into Portland’s wounds, Jrue has been making massive plays down the stretch against a Blazers guard who made his name in the clutch.
Suddenly, the former UCLA product’s ceiling appears to be higher than most people realised, as he completely transforms his national image on the grandest stage.
If Holiday continues down this path, the Blazers don’t stand a chance.
That’s a pretty wild thing to say just days after they were picked by just about everyone who follows basketball – including this humbled writer – to take out the series.
Portland will do their best to adjust, but they will still struggle to deal with a firing Holiday.
After all, Jrue isn’t worried about anything the Blazers can throw at him, and he sure as hell isn’t living on Dame Time.