Putting Jrue Holiday in the middle of the pack among all point guards for fantasy is probably the safest way to go.
In all likelihood, he will finish in the 12-17 range, mostly due to the fact that they are just so many other offensive options on this Pelicans team.
But let me argue for the best case scenario. The numbers presented in the point guard rankings for Holiday last year are true, but let me give you another set of numbers the former All-Star posted last season for the Pelicans: 14.7 points per game, 8.2 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 47.2 percent field goal shooting and 38.3 percent 3-point shooting.
Combine that with a drastic reduction in turnovers (2.5 per game), and that is a top 10 fantasy point guard.
Where did I get these numbers for Holiday from?
Those are Holidays numbers over the games that both he and Ryan Anderson played. Anderson was out for the first eight games of the season, and the Pelicans struggled mightily – and perhaps nobody suffered more than Holiday.
Holiday benefits from spacing, and having Anderson on the court allowed him to get into the lane to either get easy shots for himself or his teammates.
And it wasn’t just the addition of Anderson that lifted Holiday’s numbers before his injury.
Simply put, he got more accustomed to Monty Williams’ system. And now Holiday has another training camp with the Pelicans under his belt to make this team his own.
Anderson is back and Anthony Davis is about to take his game to a new level. Holiday is going to get 1-2 easy assists a game by just throwing the ball up at the rim, and with Davis’s jumper improving every day, there will be even more space to operate.
The one concern you might have as a fantasy owner is that Tyreke Evans really blossomed at the end of last season, and it is possible that he might take the ball out of Holiday’s hands on some possessions. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Holiday was a terrific catch-and-shoot guard last season, hitting over 44 percent of his 3-point attempts in that situation. And overall, Holiday was simply better when Evans was on the court last season.
He shot five percent better from the field (47.8 percent when Evans was on the court, 42.8 percent when he was off) and a remarkable 8.2 percent better from 3-point range (43.8 percent vs. 35.6 percent). His assist to turnover ratio was up and his steal percentage went through the roof.
Looking at the breakdowns, Holiday took far fewer mid-range shots when Evans was on the floor, and got a lot more of his shots at the rim or behind the arc.
Defensively, he was able to gamble a bit more with Evans on the court, and that is why his steal percentage nearly doubled. So while it is the safe bet to predict an average fantasy season for Holiday, there is some evidence to suggest that Holiday could have a breakout season now that he is surrounded by more talent than he has ever had next to him in his relatively young career.
Evans can take some of the ball handling load off his shoulders, allowing Holiday to play more of a combo guard role. That should help his offensive efficiency and it will allows him to reduce his turnovers dramatically. It also should allow him to use more energy on the defensive end, which could result in him being a top-3 or 5 guy in the NBA in steals – a fantasy category that is always tough to win.
If all that happens, you are basically drafting Kyrie Irving minus 3-4 points per game, but with more rebounds and steals. Irving is a guy that you will have to take 4 or 5 rounds higher than Holiday or will cost you far more in an action draft. Instead, take an elite power forward in the that spot where Irving would go and get 95 percent of Irving’s production by getting Holiday, who is poised to have a breakout year for the Pelicans and his fantasy owners.