Jrue Holiday is one of the most underrated two-way players in today’s NBA. Apart from being a solid offensive player, Holiday also has a knowledgeable approach to playing defense, which resulted in two consecutive All-Defensive teams. He is averaging 1.5 steals per game for his career and will, for the most part, play solid defense on both guard positions. Playing great defense often correlates with sheer will power more than anything else. Some players don’t have the same intensity on both ends of the floor, and some pride themselves in playing better one over the other.
Holiday observes his opponents and their habits to every single detail possible. That way, he can predict some of the things they will do before they even do it. He used an excellent example for Anthony Davis since they’ve been teammates for years, and Holiday knows all the moves in his repertoire.
“On defense, I’m looking for tendencies. Knowing tendencies. I think if you name any player… I’ll say Anthony (Davis) Cuz Anthony is my guy. Anthony loves his left hand, he can turn over both shoulders, but he’s probably going to dribble with his left hand any chance he gets. I know I’m quicker than Anthony, so I can persuade him to go left but still beat him there. So I’m persuading people to go where they want to go, but it’s still where I want you to go.”
Unlike many players in the NBA today who are not so fond of playing tough defense, Holiday enjoys it; however, he admits it’s much harder than playing great offensively. Holiday used an example of Kevin Durant and the Warriors as the only team that playing great defense sometimes doesn’t mean much. They eventually wear you down on defense, and you still have to score against them.
“I’ve always liked defense, and a lot of people don’t. I like defense just as much as an offense, but I’m not going to lie, (defense) is so much harder. It’s so freaking tiring all the time. Let’s say you’re playing KD, dude is seven feet. What the hell are you’re supposed to do? Let’s say when KD was with Golden State, I literally switched all game from KD to Steph, to Klay, back to KD….and I still had to score.”