Though adding Tyreke Evans and having Anthony Davis improve over the summer both make the New Orleans Pelicans a better team heading into the 2013-2014 NBA season, the addition of Jrue Holiday is certainly the most important thing that they did this summer.
Holiday made his first All-Star appearance last season with the Philadelphia 76ers and was really the bright spot on an otherwise dismal team with Andrew Bynum being injured. In 78 games last season, Holiday put up 17.7 points, eight assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 37.5 minutes per game. The point guard also shot 43.1 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from long-range last season.
Though Holiday’s shooting efficiency wasn’t problematic last season, it’s the area where he says he would like to improve the most coming into this season. In a recent interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, Holiday said that his primary goal this season is to be a more efficient player in terms of his scoring and in terms of cutting down his turnovers as he averaged a career-worst 3.7 per game last season.
At just 23 years old, Holiday is unquestionably still growing and developing as a player, meaning he still has room to improve in a lot of areas. However, that’s not the biggest reason why he should be able to achieve his goal of becoming more efficient this year.
To put it simply, the Pelicans this season are a miles better team than last year’s Sixers squad. Sure, Thaddeus Young is a nice complimentary player, but that pales in comparison to having weapons like Evans, Davis, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson around you.
Last season in Philly, one of the reason Holiday was able to put up such gaudy numbers last season is the fact that he was asked to do almost everything for the 76ers. Not only was he creating for himself, most of the times against heavy defensive pressure, but he also had to create for his teammates more often than not. In New Orleans, that likely won’t be as big of an issue because his teammates will be able to provide more help on the floor.
Holiday is one of the primary reasons that the Pelicans are expected to turn things around this season and possibly make it into the postseason. Not only will the team be better, but Holiday should also be able to accomplish his individual goals and become a more efficient player as he grows and is surrounded by a better supporting cast.
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