Milwaukee Bucks: Kyrie Irving is the latest NBA star to praise Jrue Holiday

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MAY 02 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MAY 02 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Jrue Holiday has been considered the most underrated player in the NBA long before he joined the Milwaukee Bucks last offseason.

While playing for the Bucks has certainly helped shine some much-deserved spotlight in his direction, Holiday has never been underrated amongst his peers. Perhaps that is because he is making their lives tough on a nightly basis as he defends them, which has led to him earning his share of praise from some of the best players in the association over the course of this season.

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The latest player to laud over Holiday’s efforts was seven-time All-Star Kyrie Irving following Milwaukee’s 117-114 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. Speaking to the media postgame, Irving assured that he enjoys squaring off against Holiday because he understands how good he is at his craft:

"“Jrue has always gotten a lot of credit from the great players in this league for what he’s capable of doing on that end of the floor. So, it’s nothing new. It’s just something that I’m looking forward to figuring out… This is what we gear up for in the offseason, going against the best of the best and proving it. Grateful for the opportunity. Mutual respect for both of us in terms of what we bring to the game on both ends of the floor.”"

Kyrie Irving’s comments highlight how impactful Jrue Holiday has been for the Milwaukee Bucks

Earning two All-Defensive nominations throughout his career, Holiday is not only one of the best defenders at his position, but among defenders in totality. Aside from averaging a career-best 1.8 steals per game, stats will not tell the full story, but his peers will tell you how challenging it is to be defended by the guard.

Among those to give Holiday his flowers was 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, who previously argued on an episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast that Holiday should have already won Defensive Player of the Year two or three times throughout his career. Iguodala took it a step further when he added that Holiday should be a lock for first-team All-Defense every single season because of his relentless prowess.

Paul George of the LA Clippers also chimed in with his own praise for Holiday earlier this season. Along with his defensive excellence, George is one of the better scorers in the league. When asked about the toughest defender he has faced throughout his career, the five-time All-NBA honoree tipped his hat to Holiday. Transcribed by Farbod Esnaashari of AllClippers:

"“I think the toughest matchup for me has been Jrue,” George said to AllClippers. “Jrue always been the toughest matchup for me. There’s a lot of great defenders out there, but the one guy who gave me the hardest time is probably Jrue.”"

Coming from a four-time All-Defensive honoree in George, that praise directed at Holiday certainly holds weight. With a reputation as one of the most lethal two-way wings in the association, hearing George commend Holiday’s efforts against him showcases how impactful the guard’s presence can be against the top-tier players.

The guard seems well on his way to earning his third All-Defensive nod this season, and deservingly so. Many would argue that Holiday’s two All-Defensive seasons are far too few, given his brilliance on that side of the ball throughout the course of his career, and they would have a valid point.

Next. 5 players Jrue Holiday has shut down on defense this season. dark

While the outside world might not give Holiday the praise he rightfully deserves, what matters most is that the players he goes against each night are aware.