Three victories over .500+ opponents is bound to make national NBA writers take notice. That’s exactly what the New Orleans Pelicans accomplished last week, defeating the Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, and Charlotte Hornets.
Anthony Davis was incredible and earlier this afternoon won his second Western Conference Player of the Week award for his efforts.
The bigger story, though, was the return of Jrue Holiday who exceeded all reasonable expectations. In two games under significant minutes restrictions, Holiday averaged 21.5 points and 8 assists while posting an incredible 30.2 PER and creating 20 points per game via those assists. Those are not per 36 minutes or 100 possession statistics. Those are per game.
Is Jrue Holiday making Anthony Davis better? Of course. Davis is posting an absolutely ridiculous 75% eFG% when both are on the court.
As expected, the Pelicans moved up substantially in all four NBA power rankings we track here. No one was more impressed than Marc Stein for ESPN, who vaulted the Pels up from 29th to 21st.
Last Week: 29 - This Week: 25
Jrue Holiday is back, he shot 17-for-31 in his first two games, the Pelicans have been great (plus-17 in 53 minutes) with him on the floor, and Alvin Gentry used him quite a bit (23 total minutes) alongside fellow point guard Tim Frazier. Anthony Davis missed another game with another injury, but the Pelicans beat the Celtics, Blazers and Hornets, with Davis averaging 33.7 points and 13.7 rebounds and the team scoring 108 points per 100 possessions, in the three games (all at home) he played last week.
Last Week: 29 - This Week: 21
The prospect of a three-win week must have felt thoroughly out of reach for the Pelicans during that interminable 0-8 start. Yet it's already clear, after just one weekend back-to-back with their point guard back, what a difference Jrue Holiday makes as a steadying force alongside Anthony Davis, who just rumbled for his league-leading fourth game in the last four seasons with at least 35 points, 15 boards and three blocks in Saturday night's 121-116 triumph over Charlotte.
Last Week: 29 - This Week: 26
Jrue Holiday is back, the Pelicans won three games this week, and those things seem connected.
Last Week: 30 - This Week: 25
Jrue Holiday is like the magic beans to this team. Throw him in and all of a sudden they're an actual honest-to-God NBA team.