Jrue Holiday came to the New Orleans Pelicans with two serious issues to correct: shot selection and turnovers. As Rohan pointed out in the immediate aftermath, Holiday took far too many long twos, failed to get to the free throw line, and turned the ball over at a troubling rate. Prior to last season I again beat the drum of shot selection, as Holiday had inexplicably decreased the number of 3-point shots he attempted and had a significant drop in free throw attempts.
If there is one area that Alvin Gentry's offense has succeeded, it is in improving Holiday's shot selection. Jrue has never attempted so few long twos or so many behind the arc. Holiday has responded by converting those long bombs at a career best 39.7%. 3-point attempts are not the only area Holiday has improved as he has more than doubled his free throw attempt rate over his first two seasons under Monty Williams. Those are the cheap easy points missing from Jrue's efficiency stew.
"Dumb Zone" shots have plummeted for Holiday. Just 23.7% of his field goal attempts come between eight feet and the 3-point arc; down from 42.9% his last season under Doug Collins in Philadelphia. Let's begin by looking at how Holiday's shot selection has evolved over the last four seasons, via NBA.com:
Mid-range shots, even for some of the best shooters in the league, are not particularly high value attempts. Only a handful of players convert frequently enough to create an efficient offense. Holiday is still dangerous in that in-between area, shooting 54.3% from 8-16 feet on the season and 47.5% in his three seasons paired with Anthony Davis. Without that shot defenses will collapse at will on AD's hard rolls to the basket. Necessary, but desirable only in controlled doses.
Efficient shot selection has, predictably, led to a significant increase in Holiday's True Shooting Percentage.
One area Holiday has continued to improve is on drives to the basket, as measured by SportVU. Holiday is driving to the basket more, shooting a higher percentage, turning the ball over less, and getting to the foul line at a ridiculous rate.
After a rough start Holiday has rebounded nicely and is posting a 27.3 PER in the month of December; trailing just Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Russell Westbrook among rotation-level players.
That's not bad company to share.
Despite an awful beginning to the season team wide Alvin Gentry has stuck to the minutes limit set all the way back in October. Jrue Holiday has logged 27+ minutes just once all season, in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers last week when he played 28:41. Minor variations above the 25 minute cap have occurred just five times total, four of which occurred in December. Thankfully, Oleh's very real concerns in November are a thing of the past.
Joel Meyers said after the victory on Sunday that Holiday's minutes limit will be removed by December 31st. Just four games and one back-to-back stand remain before Holiday is unleashed full-time.