Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday is becoming fully optimized offensively

Dec 23, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA (Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 23, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA (Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports) /

While it’s very early in his tenure with the Milwaukee Bucks, Jrue Holiday has quickly acclimated to his new surroundings to start the 2020-21 season.

Two weeks into this Milwaukee Bucks season and there are no shortage of material changes to sort through with the growing glimpses we’ve seen so far.

Many faces and names have changed after the Bucks held the best record in the regular season for the second straight year, only to crumble in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat. Their playoff downfall set off their flurry of action we saw over the offseason as the Bucks felt the pressure to shore up their deficiencies and overall talent before Giannis Antetokounmpo inked his five-year supermax extension.

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As the Bucks’ star acquisition from the offseason, Jrue Holiday represents the biggest change of the Bucks’ many moves from the fall and he will have the greatest influence on what the team achieves this season.

While Holiday has brought about a new jolt of respect to the Bucks from around the league, he has acclimated to the Bucks’ system very swimmingly thus far.

In his eight appearances in a Bucks uniform, Holiday is averaging 14.8 points on .500/.395/1.000 shooting splits, 5.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals across his 30.2 minutes per contest.

Holiday has only gotten his feet wet when it comes to integrating himself within Milwaukee’s established hierarchy led by the two-time MVP in Antetokounmpo. That’s best evidenced by his 18.7 usage percentage, which would rival the lowest mark of his 12-year career, even at this early stage in the season.

As Jrue Holiday grows more comfortable playing in the Milwaukee Bucks’ system, he has chance of putting up a career year in terms of efficiency.

While Holiday isn’t taking as much offensive responsibilities as he was used to with the New Orleans Pelicans, he’s trading it for more efficiency and a modern shot selection. Per, 70.5 percent of Holiday’s total shot attempts have either come at the basket or from behind the 3-point line.

The fact that Holiday has started off his first season with the Bucks by hitting shots at such a sparkling rate has given the league’s best 3-point shooting team an even bigger boost, along with their added shotmaking from offseason additions.

While Holiday’s game has been a strong point, Bucks fans have gotten such just how strong of a finisher, both literally and in terms of his efficiency around the rim. Holiday has converted 14 of his 28 driving attempts and has put down 20 of his 28 shots within the restricted area (71.4 percent), per

For as impressive as Holiday has been in his scoring abilities, he’s been as, if not more impressive with showing off his uncanny passing vision to find teammates behind the 3-point line or cutters toward the rim.

With a sterling 3.91 assist-to-turnover ratio on the season, Holiday’s poise and and superb decision making has given the Bucks a different dimension at the lead guard spot. Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer ertainly agreed with that sentiment after the Bucks’ 130-115 win over the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night.

Holiday has been doing all of this while providing his as advertised defense that has given the Bucks and Budenholzer an incredible versatile piece that they can put on premier scoring guards and wings.

Much has been made about the price it took for the Bucks to acquire Holiday as they dealt away veteran starting-caliber guards in Eric Bledsoe and George Hill, three first round picks and agreed to two pick swaps just to land Holiday. Bucks fans hope a possible extension will soon follow, which talks can start taking place once his trade restrictions lift in February, and Holiday has been very positive about staying long-term in Milwaukee since arriving nearly two months ago.

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While that will linger on in the background, Holiday is showing why he was worth the price in what little we’ve seen of him so far. And he’s only scratching the surface as he continues finding his place in Milwaukee.