Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday living up to expectations thus far

Jan 18, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 18, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks went all-in to reshape their roster this offseason, and the acquisition of Jrue Holiday obviously stood as their biggest move.

Holiday was viewed by many as the missing piece for Milwaukee in their quest for their first NBA championship in nearly 50 years, and that could be nerve-wracking. The baggage that comes with being deemed the missing piece for a franchise could undoubtedly be overwhelming, particularly for a team like Milwaukee that positioned itself to win in the immediate future.

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However, Holiday has embraced the opportunity to join one of the league’s premier contending teams and compete at the highest level, which has been seen in his determination from the moment he first touched down in the city.

Despite the criticism or any concern that the team received for giving up such a haul for Holiday, especially in relation to his long-term future in Milwaukee, it was necessary to make the move after two consecutive postseason blunders from the Bucks.

During his first Media Day appearance with the team, Jrue Holiday was asked about the pressure he felt when joining this situation given those desires, to which he gave a welcoming response.

Jrue Holiday is already making a sizeable difference for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Offensively, Jrue Holiday has been the perfect complement next to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. As Milwaukee’s third scoring option, Holiday is getting fewer shots for himself as he’s averaging just 12.4 shots per game, his fewest since the 2010-11 NBA season.

Still, that has not deterred the guard from making his presence felt on that end of the floor each night by currently averaging 15.7 points on .489/.387/.867 shooting splits and 5.1 assists through his first 14 Bucks games. Holiday continues to prove that he can score at will from anywhere on the floor while also providing a solid dose of playmaking that the team was in the hunt for this past offseason.

The most welcoming surprise from Jrue has been his 3-point shooting where he is knocking down 38.7 percent of his 4.4 attempts per game this season. There were questions about his ability to space the floor efficiently, but he has silenced them early on. The guard’s 38.7 percent mark is his highest percentage in over seven seasons and has helped him fit snugly into this let it fly minded offense with the Bucks that tops the NBA in efficiency.

Jrue Holiday has already been a difference maker defensively for the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks knew what Holiday is capable of defensively, and that absolutely made it far easier to part ways with the treasure chest of assets they gave up to get him. A two-time All-Defensive honoree, Holiday has a reputation among his peers as one of the best defenders not just at his position but in the entire league.

To this point, Holiday has been just that for Milwaukee, and the versatility he provides on that side of the ball is unmatched. Throughout the first 14 games this season, Holiday is showcasing his defensive prowess, currently on record with the second most steals in the league at 28.

Holiday’s defensive has been fantastic, and no game this season is a better example of what the guard is capable of better than the team’s 125-123 loss to the Brooklyn Nets this past Monday.

Holiday primarily found himself glued to James Harden defensively but also got his share of looks matched up against Kevin Durant. Despite the more than noticeable size differences, Holiday will not be discouraged by any opponent, and that fearlessness is exactly what the Bucks need defensively.

The most apparent thing with Holiday is that sense of confidence. Adjusting to a new team, particularly one with such talent, seemed like it would take an extended time, but Holiday has started clicking early. He looks comfortable on both ends of the floor with his new teammates, and the veteran experience he brought aboard has undoubtedly been widespread throughout this locker room.

Next. Grading the Bucks' new additions one month into 2020-21 season. dark

Much like the rest of the Bucks, Jrue Holiday’s goal remains to elevate this team to a championship level, and he has unquestionably shown his commitment early on.