Jrue Holiday helps up JJ Redick from the floor

Unselfish perspective has made Jrue Holiday an ideal teammate for New Orleans

by Jim Eichenhofer

Some players lobby for more touches, more opportunities to shoot, more of their team’s offense running through them. Jrue Holiday has made it clear that he’s very content to shift positions and move from the point to shooting guard, ensuring that the ball will be in his hands less.

Some players treat the defensive end of the floor as a way to kill time until the ball returns to them. Jrue Holiday views defense as a vital element of what he brings to a team. He wants the toughest assignment you can give him, whether that’s guarding Steph Curry, Paul George or Kevin Durant. Despite those formidable challenges, Holiday is often successful, earning two recent All-Defense selections for what can otherwise be a thankless job.

Some players would rather look for new teammates than try to build up the ones they already have. Jrue Holiday spends basketball season – and chunks of every offseason – supporting New Orleans’ array of early-20s players, both on and off the court. As Pelicans two-year guard Frank Jackson puts it of Holiday, “That’s my dog. He always looks out for me.”

Those traits led Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin to say of Holiday last fall, “(We’ve) got a guy on the team who everybody would run through a brick wall for.”

There are plenty of New Orleanians willing to do the same, particularly after the 30-year-old’s incomparable contributions this summer. Sure, the Pelicans’ trip to Orlando didn’t go according to plan on the court, but Holiday donated his entire NBA restart salary – upwards of $5 million – to minority-owned businesses, non-profits and higher learning institutions in three cities, including New Orleans. Over 50,000 assists were dished out during the 2019-20 NBA season, but none was more important than that one.

Jrue Holiday is now being honored as this NBA season’s best teammate. Since his arrival in the Crescent City seven years ago, you could say he’s always been that for New Orleans and the Pelicans.

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