What Should the New Orleans Pelicans Do Upon the Return of Jrue Holiday?
Anthony Davis has been on fire to start the 2016-17 season.
Through 11 games, the New Orleans Pelicans' superstar forward is averaging 30.5 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, and 2.1 steals in 37.6 minutes a game.
The problem, however, is that -- for as great as Brow's numbers are -- they're just as dooming in that they suggest that Davis is merely a one-man show.
Despite Davis' 1.8 win shares, the Pelicans have managed just two wins so far this season. Only three of Davis' teammates average more than 10 points per game, and none of them average more than 12.6. Of those who have started at least six games, no player has more than 0.5 win shares.
Help Is on the Way
It seems like in the short term Holiday will be on a soft minutes restriction. Regardless of the minutes, Holiday will provide a boost to a Pelicans team looking for scoring and production anywhere they can get it.
Over the course of his seven-year career, Holiday has shown he has the ability to be that guy.
When healthy last season, Holiday scored 16.8 points and added 6 assists and 3 rebounds per contest. However, Holiday worked through a minutes limit a year ago as he made his way back from a nagging leg injury.
To better understand his level of production, here are his numbers per 36 minutes.
|Per 36 Minutes||Points||Assists||Rebounds|
That's good production, especially when you consider the efficient manner in which Holiday performed. In 65 games, the one-time All-Star earned a career high player efficiency rating of 19.7 with a true shooting percentage of 52.9% -- also a personal best.
As good as Holiday is, things shouldn't change in the way most expect them to. As I alluded to, Frazier's been a really solid contributor for a team full of Anthony Davis and air. On the season, he has supplied 10.8 points, 7.5 assists, and 3.4 rebounds over the course of 29.8 minutes a game.
It's not that, in and of itself, Frazier's play is outstanding. Rather, in comparison to the Pelicans' other options, he stands out. He's too good not to continue to start and play steady minutes.
The only counterargument is that Frazier can't consistently knock down threes. On the contrary, Frazier is shooting a career-best 34.6% from three-point land and hitting 0.8 a night. The argument isn't a legitimate one any longer.
According to NBA Wowy, with Frazier on the court the Pelicans are 11.5 points better offensively and 12.4 points better defensively than they are with him off the court this season.
Frazier should start, and after Holiday gets locked in, they should be the starting backcourt in New Orleans. They would make a good one-two combination in terms of ball-handling responsibilities. And Holiday, with his 6'4" frame, wouldn't have a problem lining up against opposing shooting guards. Offensively, he would be able to work off the ball more and focus on being the scoring complement Davis really needs.
As for this lineup's effectiveness, it's been proven -- in theory, at least. According to Basketball Reference, of the Pelicans' 2015-16 lineups, two of the top five lineups (in net rating) included the backcourt combination of Holiday and Norris Cole, virtually last year's Frazier. In fact, the single best lineup, a plus-36 in nearly 37 minutes together, included the duo.
This doesn't prove anything. It does, however, suggest that Frazier and Holiday could do a lot for the Pelicans going forward.
What do they have to lose? More games?