How Jrue Holiday Quietly Changed the Bucks’ Championship Fortunes

After being crowned an NBA champion, Jrue Holiday took a moment to reflect on his journey.

“This is such a blessing, man. This is only God,” Holiday said prior to the trophy presentation. “Like I said before, as a kid, you only dream of this moment, so to be able to actually do it, to see the confetti, to do it with my brothers, there’s nothing like it. Coming here was obviously the greatest thing in my career.”

Holiday finished the Bucks’ close-out Game 6 win with 12 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds and 4 steals in 46 minutes. But his defense which included at least 3 steals in each of the last three games of the Finals helped change Milwaukee’s fortunes. His averages of 16.7 points, 9.3 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals defies the narratives of analytic effectiveness.

After the Bucks traded Eric Bledsoe to the New Orleans Pelicans for Holiday, that move appeared to be a gesture of good faith to their franchise player, Giannis Antetokounmpo that winning a championship was a top priority. Holiday stepped up in the final seconds of a pivotal Game 5 matchup, snagging a steal and dishing an alley-oop to Giannis for a crazy finish that helped solidify the win.

It was poetic that the player that played a part in solidifying the franchise’s future came up with the most underrated play of the NBA Finals. But this is a small part of a story that might get overlooked due to the historical performance of NBA Finals MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Jrue Holiday’s overall play helped turn around the series when the Bucks were down 2-0 and doubted by some experts. He finished with 27 points and 13 assists in Game 5 while stepping up on the defensive end and guarding Chris Paul, picking him up full-court to slow his production after Game 1 while defending Devin Booker as well. As the series wore on, the Phoenix offense became stagnant and they struggled down the stretch to lose Games 3 and 4.

And last night, Holiday’s ability to continue to set up his teammates was crucial in supporting Giannis’ 50 point night and bringing an NBA title to Milwaukee after a 50-year hiatus.

The post How Jrue Holiday Quietly Changed the Bucks’ Championship Fortunes appeared first on SLAM.

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