Naturally there is a debate within Pelican fandom what should happen when Jrue Holiday comes back from his most recent injury. Since the team has taken off in his absence some want to consider his departure to be the turning point. Tyreke Evans has performed admirably replacing Holiday and this debate was predictable. However, let's not forget two things.
First, in his last game healthy Holiday scored 23 points on 7-13 shooting with 8 assists, 3 rebounds, and 0 turnovers. Tyreke Evans, coming off the bench, poured in 21 points, 5 assists, 9 rebounds, and just 1 turnover of his own as the Pelicans thoroughly dominated the Memphis Grizzlies in a 106-95 victory. Austin Rivers and Luke Babbitt combined for 17 minutes, while Dante Cunningham played 32.
Second, the Pelicans acquired Quincy Pondexter in the meantime and he never suited up with Holiday. Jrue's first game out, against Detroit, was the first Pondexter played with New Orleans. Judging by the 49 guard/wing minutes used against Memphis splitting them between Pondexter and Cunningham (while allowing for 30+ for Holiday, Gordon, and Evans) is more than reasonable.
As I have pointed out recently, Holiday is actually quite valuable and the second best player on this team. ESPN's Real Plus-Minus, the Player Efficiency Metric (Holiday is third on the team with a career best 18.7), Win Shares, etc all point to Holiday's value. Now, you can add the eye test of an unbiased observer.
SB Nation Film Room All-Star
You really should go read the entire post by SB Nation's Mike Prada. Below is the section on the New Orleans Point Guard.
2. JRUE HOLIDAY
Holiday was an actual All-Star while chucking away on a bad 76ers team in 2012-13, then became a more complete player in anonymity after switching conferences. Holiday is not without flaws -- his shot selection is still shaky, he takes plays off and he should be shooting more threes -- but the ways he succeeds are unique to his position.
Holiday may already be the best defender at his position in the league, and that's without locking in for all 24 seconds of the shot clock on every play. His slippery frame allows him to fight over screens and his quick feet make it difficult for even the speediest point guards to drive around him. He's also tough fronting the post on switches and sneaky about slipping his hands in dribbling and passing lanes, both when he's beat and when he's defending on the opposite side.
Offensively, Holiday is crafty running all sorts of pick and rolls. He's equally capable of executing one up top at the end of the shot clock as he is running one inside the three-point line, a key in New Orleans' system because those plays put Anthony Davis closer to the rim. As a scorer, he's average, but he becomes elite when you consider all scoring opportunities that come from his pick and rolls. The Pelicans score more efficiently on Holiday's pick and rolls than the Clippers do Chris Paul's and the Rockets do on James Harden's, per Synergy Sports Technology. Among starting point guards, only Stephen Curry's pick and rolls yield a more efficient return.
Having Davis sure helps there, but Holiday's timing and passing can't be overlooked.
Remember, too, that Holiday is still young and point guards sometimes take years to fully emerge. The Pelicans paid a heavy price to acquire Holiday, but he's proving to be worth it.
As long as the Western Conference remains a bloodbath it is difficult to see a path to an actual All-Star bid for Holiday in the near future. Damian Lillard AND Mike Conley did not make it this year for goodness sake! Film Room All-Star will have to do for now.