Milwaukee Bucks: How Jrue Holiday is finally getting his overdue respect

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MAY 24 (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MAY 24 (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Jrue Holiday was considered the most underrated player in the NBA long before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks this past offseason.

The guard had spent most of his career fighting to make the playoffs, making this season a brand new experience for the veteran. Competing at the highest level with the Bucks by being among the most prominent title contenders has put Holiday on a bigger stage than ever before with a genuine shot to win it all.

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With the Bucks currently boasting a commanding 3-0 lead in their first round matchup with the Miami Heat, Holiday has garnered national praise from players, fans, and media alike for his top-notch performance in the series.

Among those at the forefront of the praise is fellow Milwaukee newcomer P.J. Tucker, who lauded over Holiday’s play after the Bucks took down the Heat on Thursday. Via the team’s official YouTube page:

"“Jrue is the most underrated player in the NBA by far. People don’t understand how good he is. I didn’t understand how good he was until I played with him. He gets it and he is the quietest dog you’ve ever played with in your life. He doesn’t say anything but you know he’s there… He’s never pressed, he’s always going to make the right play. He doesn’t care about how many points he scores, he’s not checking the scoreboard. He’s worried about turning the ball over and staying in front of his man and being agressive on defense and creating for everybody."

Jrue Holiday has had a massive impact for the Milwaukee Bucks thus far in the NBA Playoffs

Guard play on the offensive end had been a massive weakness for the Bucks in the last two postseasons. Bogged down by the minimal contributions from the backcourt under the brightest lights, they needed an established playoff performer, which is precisely why they pushed all their chips in and traded for Holiday.

The fit has been seamless in the playoffs to this point as Holiday has patched that previous concern without question. Averaging 16.7 points while shooting 52.5 percent from the floor, the guard has been scoring the basketball at a high rate for the Bucks. Aside from shooting a troublesome 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) from 3-point territory in this small sample size, Holiday has been beyond efficient in scoring the basketball.

Furthermore, the guard’s prolific playmaking has been on full display throughout these three games by averaging an impressive 10 assists per contest. Holiday has been dishing out fantastic passes all throughout the series, giving the team a reliable ball handler in the backcourt to alleviate pressure off Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton when called upon.

The defensive excellence of the guard has also been on full display. According to, Heat players are shooting 15-of-29 when being defended by Holiday. While 52 percent shooting might not accurately display Holiday’s prowess on that side of the ball, the All-Defensive guard is undoubtedly making those players work for every basket they get.

In addition to the production he has given them statistically, Holiday’s presence in itself has been a massive lift for the Bucks. Although Tucker alluded to the guard’s quiet style of going about everything, Holiday has given this team a confidence booster when he is out on the floor with his leadership on both ends.

Back in the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, Holiday has undoubtedly left his mark in this first round set thus far. With many labeling him as the ultimate difference-maker for this Milwaukee team in the playoffs this season, it is welcoming to see him receive the praise he ultimately deserves on a team competing for a title.

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With the Bucks poised for a deep playoff run, only time will tell just how much Holiday’s efforts can help propel them forward with a difficult road ahead.