Marquee Boston Celtics offseason splash Jrue Holiday has been an effective glue guy for a team that has gotten so close to an NBA championship for the better part of the last six years, and he has risen to the challenge in 2023-24 in a metaphorical and literal sense. Holiday’s 12/7/6/1/1 stat line proves the former point, but as CelticsBlog’s Adam Taylor explains, the latter sense is playing out in the paint; where Holiday is rising to the challenge of defending big men at just six-foot-four.
“When the Celtics added Holiday to their roster during the offseason, we all knew he would be a big-time addition who could contribute on both ends of the floor,” Taylor prefaced before saying, “Still, I wasn’t expecting him to play so ‘big.’ By that, I mean guarding opposing centers, operating as a post threat, making an impact as a high-level rebounder, and punishing defenses as a slasher. Holiday is playing bigger than his role, using his physicality and strength to create opportunities for himself and others.”
Holiday has been a purely complementary player to the Celtics’ star trio of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kristaps Porzingis; the latter of whom has done a great deal of sacrificing this season as well. The 15-year-vet Holiday has a season-high of 18 points per game and is averaging his lowest point total (12.8 PPG) since his rookie season through nine games. To the uninformed, he’s having a down year, but Celtics fans understand this was always the goal for the team, and Holiday has yet to complain about his usage.
Sacrifice defining Boston Celtics success in 2023-24
Holiday’s and Porzingis’s sacrifices have been notable, but no player on the team has given up more than Al Horford — who is coming off the bench for the first time during his tenure in Boston after doing so just 10 times in his entire 17-year career.
All three players buying into their roles has led to early success, but the key is that it lasts the whole season and into April, May, and June.
Thus far, we’ve been given no reason why that wouldn’t be the case.