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“Probably the Best Defender”: Kevin Durant Vouches For Jrue Holiday Following Defensive Team Snub

Published 09/11/2020, 9:07 AM EDT

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Ever since the NBA announced the All-Defensive teams, multiple NBA stars like Damian Lillard and Andre Iguodala have vouched for Pelicans star Jrue Holiday. The latest star who has spoken about this is Kevin Durant. He believes it should have been Holiday’s third consecutive appearance in the defensive teams.

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During his appearance on the JJ Redick podcast, Durant was all praise for Holiday. “Jrue Holiday is solidified as probably the best defender in the league at the guard position,” he said. “When we talk about defense, a lot of people don’t really understand what defense really means.

“For different positions, especially at point guard, the stuff you have to do to guard, they don’t get a lot of credit for fighting over screens especially now they getting screened at half court, guys are running off of pindowns.”


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Kevin Durant recalls 2018 series against Holiday and the Pels

Durant believes Holiday’s defensive ability is on a level where he is always expected to guard the best player on the court, no matter the position. He also spoke about the Warriors vs Pelicans series from 2018, where Holiday gave them a tough time.

“You put Jrue in any system, any coach is going to ask him to guard the best player”, he said. “We played them in 2018, second round and he guarded me the whole series. He was picking me up full court, he was guarding me in the post. Actually, it was tough to dribble on Jrue Holiday. He slides his feet so well, he’s got good hands, he’s strong, he’s got good instincts.


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“I gained a lot of respect for him in that series because he went from guarding me to Klay (Thompson) to Steph (Curry) to guarding Draymond (Green), neutralizing picks and rolls. He’s special. He’s special on that side of the ball.”


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Later Durant admitted that the Pelicans’ unimpressive defense as a team would have affected Holiday’s claim to the Defensive teams. The Pelicans ranked 21st in team defensive ratings.

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His stocks (steal + blocks) were 2.4, compared to 1.6 for Patrick Beverley and 0.9 for Eric Bledsoe. Both Beverley and Bledsoe were just a part of good defensive teams, and although they were good, Holiday was better.


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Stats can only speak so much, but Holiday’s claim has been supported for by the best offensive players in the league, like Durant and Lillard are echoing the same statement. That speaks volumes.



Aaron Mathew

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Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.