On January 28th, Alvin Gentry started a backcourt tandem of Norris Cole and Bryce Dejean-Jones against the Sacramento Kings. With both Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans unavailable due to injury, many believed Jrue Holiday was probable to enter the starting lineup, a role he had not occupied since December 1st. Fortunately for the coaching staff, the New Orleans Pelicans won the game despite starting one of the worst performers in the league this season alongside a player fresh out of the D-League for the first time on a 10-day contract.
Throughout the month of December, fans and media alike were anticipating the calendar flipping to January. The New Orleans Pelicans had promised to keep Jrue Holiday on minute restrictions since prior to the start of the season, but that was set to change sometime following New Year's Eve. The prevailing thought was, barring any setbacks, all of Holiday's restrictions were going to be lifted.
According to statistics, Holiday averaged 29.2 minutes in January (after averaging 25.5 minutes in December). A player who posted a PER of 23.0, the 29th best mark across the NBA during this period of time, surpassed the 30-minute barrier just four times out of a possible 14 games. As recently as from the Pelicans' victory against the Nets, Gentry claimed this is par for the course.
"I think he likes where he is, as I keep saying. We use all of his minutes. We didn't quite use them tonight because he got a foul, and he only played 23 which is about 7 minutes less than I would anticipate playing him."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this statement alludes to the existence of a 30-minute barrier -- a quote that is in direct conflict with one from late December.
Gentry said he expected Holiday’s lingering minutes restriction would disappear "in the next week or so," which would allow him to play into the 30-plus minute range, even though he’s coming off the bench.
Before anyone jumps all over Gentry, realize he is normally operating from what the medical staff or management advise him to do. According to multiple attendees during last month's Chalk Talk, a limited season ticket holder meeting which featured the Pelicans general manager (no media), Dell Demps said that Holiday would remain on a minute restriction and so his best role would be to continue as a reserve.
I pray no one has any problems with the Pelicans wanting to monitor Holiday beyond their initially stated timeline. If expertise concludes it's best to not give Holiday minutes in the same range as Anthony Davis, so be it. However, it's unusual this directive remains so secretive that major NBA outlets are forced to sit in the dark on the matter.
Random question: Why is Jrue Holiday still coming off the bench?— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) January 31, 2016
Bad rumors tend to arise out of dimly lit situations. Does management really want a head coach who is in his first year of a 4-year contract to take unnecessary heat for not starting the Pelicans second best player on the team? He is already surrounded by multiple issues, all stemming from a disappointing season, so why compound the problem?
Please, announce the organization's stance on Holiday and be done with it. Poor Norris Cole and Tyreke Evans, if he ever returns from the questionable handling of his knee injury, do not need to be berated any further for playing ahead of a rising star.