No Looking Back For Pelicans’ Holiday

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Surprising trades usually leave the players involved suspended in a state of shock for at least a few days after the deal goes down.

Not Jrue Holiday.

He only needed minutes to wrap his head around the Draft night deal that sent him from Philadelphia to the New Orleans for Nerlens Noel. Yeah, the whole “Pelicans” thing takes some getting used to, but from a purely basketball perspective, the All-Star point guard said he needed only minutes to process exactly what went down.

“It was like five minutes, to be honest,” Holiday said. “After I got the call and they said I got traded, I immediately thought about [Sixers guard] Evan Turner. We’d been through everything together in Philly, really grown up together in the league in Philly along with Thad Young, Spencer Hawes and those guys, But then I thought about it and it was like, ‘oh snap, Eric Gordon‘s on your team. Anthony Davis is on your team. Ryan Anderson, Austin Rivers and at the time [Robin] Lopez. This could be crazy.’ They sent me to a good team. This could be a blessing in disguise.”

There is no camouflage needed. The Pelicans have transformed their roster from a mismatch of ill-fitting parts to a talented core of versatile young players poised for a climb, that could come sooner rather than later, in the Western Conference playoff chase.

Holiday gives the Pelicans all sorts of flexibility in their stacked backcourt, that also includes Tyreke Evans. Holiday got a chance to work with Davis and his new coach, Monty Williams, during USA Basketball’s mini-camp last week in Las Vegas. Williams was on the coaching staff and Davis on the opposite team during the Blue-White Showcase.

“He’s a genuine guy sand he’s a winner,” Holiday said of Williams. “He wants to build a winner. And that’s what I’m about, so that should be an easy transition. Anthony is a beast and one of the best young big men in the game. At the end of the day, they’re winners and that’s what I’m trying to be in this league.”

Holiday was the youngest player in the league when the Sixers selected him with the 17th pick in the 2009 Draft. He experienced his share of growing pains early on, having to adjust from playing off the ball at UCLA to being the Sixers’ primary ballhandler and facilitator. He mastered the job by his fourth season, earning All-Star plaudits during what turned out to be a tumultuous season for the Sixers.

They followed a surprise playoff run in 2012 by making a blockbuster trade for Andrew Bynum that cost them valuable pieces, including Andre Iguodala, Nik Vucevic and Moe Harkless.

By the time the dust had settled, Bynum’s fragile knees kept him from playing a single second during the 2012-13 season and the Sixers crashed, with coach Doug Collins moving on to a front office position and ultimately Holiday being jettisoned for yet another franchise reboot under new general manager Sam Hinkie.

“All of that is in the past,” Holiday said. “I’m not looking back.  We’ve got a chance to do some special things in New Orleans.”

And the glut of bodies in the backcourt and on the perimeter is something that Holiday insists will work in the Pelicans’ favor as opposed to being the source of friction. Making it work, of course, is up the men involved.

“I think that comes with being good teammates and good team players,” Holiday said. “It’s not about one dude coming in and dominating the ball and trying to do everything. Obviously, I don’t need the ball to score and make an impact on the game. I feel like I can do that in other ways. Same thing with Eric, Austin and Tyreke. I think the depth makes it easier on all of us.”

The only thing Holiday doesn’t have a great handle on right now is the Pelicans nickname, the world itself makes him smile when discussing the franchise’s new moniker and image.

“It’s funny, I’m not going to lie,” Holiday said. “‘We’re the Pelicans.’ But I’ve said it about a half million times now. I’m pretty much used to it now, though. The new color scheme is dope. The uniforms are going to be sick. I’m excited. I think we’re going to do big things.”


  1. Jamal says:

    The pelicans are a good team starting five….jrue holiday,Eric Gordon-borderline star,tyre ke Evans-rookie of the year 22.3average first season,Anthony Davis-beast man child,Jeff withey-all time shot blocker award def player of the year in his conference with ku Ryan Anderson-3point nightmare they are going to be GOOD

  2. John Yohannan says:

    Are u kidding me? Holiday is way better than Noels

  3. Br says:

    definite chance to be a 5-8 seed.
    Anthony Davis is unbelievable. Tyreke Evans is fine being a 6th man and a lot of these guys played AAU together so the off the court likability is there. If they gel they can really be special. They upgraded their offense and defense this summer.

  4. Gillsy says:

    They do need more help on the boards and yes ASIC would be good but they are making moves in the right direction. Pitty Anderson can’t rebound

  5. Dadu says:

    I ike the team. I thinck we can at least win against anyone in the west. This is a propper growing type of project.

  6. J says:

    they are gonna be a great team
    this should be their lineup:

    PG holiday
    SG Gordon
    SF evans
    PF davis
    C greg oden (sign him already somebody!)
    6 Anderson
    7 rivers
    8 steimsma

    they’ll be great

  7. Kamote says:

    The team is young, and they still need to have that continuity of playing together. There was a year when KD and Westbrook were playing together and have 28% W-L record. The core of Holiday, Davis, Evans and Anderson is a good foundation to build on. They just have to play together, much like what OKC did (added with smart drafting, FA signing and trades). Some are just into forming Superteams and expect everyone else to follow. Boston and Miami have had a great success doing that, but some aren’t that fortunate. An example would be the Sixers, giving away Iggy and Vucevic for Bynum’s knees. And we all know what happened to LAL last year.

    Just have patience folks, if you can’t have it, then just go on with your bandwagoning ways and let this team be.

  8. dee says:

    You guys never watched the Hornets play so of course you don’ t think the Pelicans will be good. You only look at highlights and that kills your Bball IQ. The team already has Jason Smith, Drafted Whithey and signed Greg Stiemsma which means they have the size to bang with the 5 or 6 real bigs in the league. They will also be able to put a 5 out there for when they play against smaller teams that get out in transition. The Pelicans will be good and will fight for a 6-8th seed in the west.

  9. Not excited about this team says:

    I’m just not a fan of small ball….. Their only hope is to live at the free-throw line, and lead the league in steals,
    … and possibly get AD to play like Dwight Howard

    If the perimeter D isn’t tight, and they can’t rebound, they’ll be a losing team with a few highlights…

    If their Lucky, AD can dust off his point guard skills, or develop a post/face up game to balance them out…. but realistically..

    …. time to call Greg Oden……

  10. Kimmy says:

    I’m not being negative at all when I say, “I’m still not convinced about this team”. Even with the additions and deletions. Something was missing last season w/this team, and something is still missing w/ this team. For me it starts w/ the name changes, then gets progessively worse… All the pieces kind of look good but as a done puzzle what is the real picture? Just my opinion, I still wish them the best.

  11. Game Time says:

    “They sent me to a good team” LMAO. C’mon Jrue. I can understand being grateful for any situation, but no need to lie about it.

  12. lee says:

    i dont see this team being good the need to try to get asik the need a good defener who can rebound and do the things he does inside and i think he will get better as his career goes on he is a tyson chandler like player

    • Elesa says:

      The team is good. They can push for the eight seed, maybe. Anthony Davis is a good defender, and hopefully he’ll grow int that more.

  13. LabMonkey says:

    Pelicans, Hornets, trades and draft, the NBA has a way of reinventing itself every year that is pretty special. Once again looking forward to the upcoming season!