Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla turned some heads when he decided to bring Jrue Holiday off of the bench in Boston’s preseason opener last week. Many Celtics fans expected Holiday to be a surefire starter when he arrived via trade earlier this month.
At Monday’s practice, the two-time All-Star guard opened up about the possibility of him coming off of the bench for Mazzulla and the Celtics. He doesn’t seem too concerned about where he is at tip-off, instead, he’s focused on the final buzzer.
“It’s not that big of a deal,” Holiday told CLNS Media’s Bobby Manning. “I like winning. Winning is really important. Playing and being on the court is important. Supporting my teammates is important. it’s not always how you start, it’s how you finish.”
Holiday is coming off of an All-Star season with the Milwaukee Bucks. He played a key role in Milwaukee’s first-place finish in the regular season. The 33-year-old averaged 19.1 points, 7.4 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 47.9% from the field and 38.4% from beyond the arc.
Those aren’t the stats of someone you’d imagine coming off of the bench.
This Boston Celtics team is all-in on winning
Holiday’s willingness to come off the bench isn’t all that common in the NBA. Typically star players want the respect of being on the floor for the opening tip.
Not him, and not the Celtics.
This season seems to be entirely centered around hanging another banner in Boston, for those involved. There’s Holiday’s potential sacrifice of being a sixth man, then there’s been talks of the other stars having to sacrifice some stats.
Kristaps Porzingis touched on this at Sunday’s practice, highlighting winning as the main goal.
“You’re just playing with these other talented players that you know can make stuff happen,” he said (h/t Bobby Manning). “You can just be there to support if needed. Honestly, I’m just gonna play my game and everybody’s gonna play their game and if all of our stats dip a little bit … who cares. We’re here to win.”
That mindset is something that’s been relayed to the media through several members of the team. Everyone in green seems to be locked in on Banner 18.