The Milwaukee Bucks X-Factor: Jrue Holiday
Jrue Holiday has certainly left his imprint on this Milwaukee Bucks team. After just one season on the team, this Bucks squad looks different compared to the teams of years past. While Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are the alphas on the offensive end, Jrue Holiday has provided a needed defensive spark on the perimeter. While Milwaukee’s trio of stars does not have the star appeal as Brooklyn’s big three, the Bucks do indeed have three legitimate stars to build their squad around for the coming seasons. Holiday made his mark in the first round and looks to be the missing piece for the Bucks already. With this in mind, he is the clear x-factor for the Bucks throughout the rest of the postseason.
Jrue Holiday: Milwaukee’s X-Factor
Jrue Holiday: How he Fared Against Miami
The Milwaukee Bucks made quick work of the defending Eastern Conference champion, Miami Heat, in the first round. The Heat are now a part of just a handful of teams in NBA history to get swept in the first round after making the NBA Finals the season prior. A big key for Milwaukee’s success was the stifling defense on Jimmy Butler. Butler had the worst playoff series of his career as he only averaged 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, a putrid 29.7 percent shooting from the field, 72.7 percent from the free-throw line, and an even worse 26.7 percent shooting from the three-point arc.
Can you guess who was guarding him some of the time? You guessed it, it was Jrue Holiday. In about nine minutes matched up with the Miami star, Holiday held Butler to 40.0 percent shooting from the field and only gave up eight points. Not to mention, Butler did not make a single three-point shot when guarded by the 6’3″ All-Defensive guard. However, let us not forget the contributions offensively Holiday made for the Bucks which also helped secure a sweep in the first round.
Holiday’s Offensive Numbers
Jrue is living up to the contract extension he got mid-season. While we all know what he is capable of defensively, he is an underrated “quarterback,” of this Milwaukee offense. For the regular season, he tallied 17.7 points, 6.1 assists, and shot an effective field goal percentage (EFG) of 57.0 percent. It does not end there though.
In the first round of the playoffs, Holiday came away with offensive totals of 15.3 points, 9.8 assists, and a field goal percentage of 48.1 percent. While his scoring numbers slightly dipped, his assists totals saw a massive increase as he came close to averaging a double-double for the series. Also, bear in mind how much energy he was exerting defensively having to guard Jimmy Butler and the crafty, Goran Dragic.
With all of this in mind, it is clear that the key for the Milwaukee Bucks throughout this postseason will hinge on the success of Jrue Holiday. We know how Giannis can stuff the stat sheet. We know that Middleton can come through in the clutch. However, Jrue Holiday is one of the few guards in this league who can, at the very least, make life a little tough for guys like Kyrie Irving and James Harden. If Jrue has another great playoff series, the Bucks could be a sleeper team to come out of the East.
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