CelticsBlog's Jack Simone sees the Boston Celtics' finishing-touches offseason splash, Jrue Holiday, and Al Horford as the two players who've sacrificed the most during the team's highly successful 2023-24 season.
"Outside of Al Horford, who moved to the bench for the first time in his career, Jrue Holiday has sacrificed more than anyone on this year’s Boston Celtics—a team that’s made that word the theme of their season," Simone wrote.
"After spending three years with the Milwaukee Bucks as a top-three scoring option capped off by his first All-Star appearance in a decade last season, (Holiday's) now the fifth offensive option on most nights. At 13.1 points per game, his scoring average is the lowest since his third season in the league."
Holiday has quietly been one of Boston's best bigs. Yes, bigs. Despite standing at six-foot-four, Holiday has often been tasked with guarding the opposing team's threat on the block and has also taken advantage of smaller defenders in the post himself. As Simone's CelticsBlog colleague Adam Taylor pointed out, Holiday plays bigger than his role.
"I wasn’t expecting him to play so ‘big,'" Taylor prefaced before saying, "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.”
Boston Celtics must capitalize on Jrue Holiday and Al Horford's twilight years
Joe Mazzulla is, in many ways, lucking out getting the sort of starter-level contributions Horford and Holiday are providing when called upon; in addition to being willing to take a backseat in the offense most nights when Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kristaps Porzingis (and sometimes Derrick White) are busy clearing 20 points in the scoring column.
At 37, Horford is definitively in his twilight, and could be looking to wrap up his career once Boston raises Banner 18. Holiday is only 33, but he's hinted at retiring earlier than his late 30s. This could well be a twilight season for him too depending on how much longer Holiday's career goes.
Both still have plenty to give the game, but they've given plenty already. Brad Stevens has built a championship-worthy roster as Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations, so it's on the C's stars -- define that however you feel, though Holiday could arguably be included in this group -- to make good on these twilight years.