Holiday’s scoring output over the past two games is 57.6 percent higher than his first 15 playoff games, as he shot 41.6 percent on 15.9 attempts per game. The shooting percentage contributed to him scoring 16.5 points per game.
But what has been the difference in Holiday’s performance? The absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Holiday has been a player who excels in the role of ball-handler. Holiday’s best season in recent memory came during the 2018-19 season when he touched the ball a regular-season career-high 86 times per game.
Holiday’s touches led him to attack the basket a regular-season career-high 16.6 times per game. He shot 52 percent from the field during these drives on 7.7 shots per game. The shooting percentage helped him score 9.7 points, 46.2 percent of his scoring output, as he averaged 21 per game.
Let’s take a look at why Jrue Holiday is out of his element in the current Milwaukee Bucks offense when playing with Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Unfortunately, Holiday has spent more time off the ball during his first season in Milwaukee. The Bucks run an offensive system centered around transition, isolation, and post-up possessions.
Milwaukee led the league in transition possessions averaging 22.1 per game. The team gave Antetokounmpo 29.9 percent of those possessions as he is averaging 6.6 per game. The Bucks are also third in the league in isolation possessions averaging 9.8 per game.
Antetokounmpo took 45.9 percent of the isolation possessions, averaging 4.5 per game. Lastly, the Milwaukee Bucks were fourth in post-up possessions averaging 7.7 per game. Milwaukee gave him 42.9 percent of the team’s post-up possessions as he is averaging 3.3 per game.
Milwaukee’s offensive system led to Holiday touching the ball 62.9 times per game. Holiday’s touches enabled him to attack the basket 10 times per game. He shot 52.9 percent from the field on 4.4 shots, producing 5.7 points per game.
Holiday ended up spending more time off the ball as he took 34.4 percent of his shots from behind the arc averaging 4.8 per game. Holiday performed above expectations in the role during the regular season, converting 37.9 percent of his catch and shoots on 2 attempts. The catch and shoots have boosted his 3-point percentage as he shot 39.2 percent.
Outside of the 2020-21 regular season, Holiday has been an inconsistent shooter. Holiday converted 35.6,30.1 39.5,35.4 and 36.4 percent respectively of his catch and shoot field goals from 2015-16 to 2019-2020 on an average of 1.7 attempts.
The catch-and-shoot inconsistency contributed to him shooting 34.1 percent behind the arc from 2015-16 to 2019-2020 on 4.7 attempts per game. Holiday’s inconsistency has returned in the playoffs as he shot 30.3 percent on catch and shoots over the first 15 playoff games on 1.9 shots per game. Catch and shoots played a vital role in him shooting 28.7 percent on 5.8 attempts.
Holiday’s poor shooting performance in the playoffs was compounded by not being a primary ball-handler as he touched the ball 83 times per game. The touches helped him attack the basket 13.5 times per game, shooting 46.3 percent on 5.5 attempts per game. The field goal percentage allowed to score 5.9 points per game.
However, Holiday has seen a 14.4 percent increase in his touches after Antetokounmpo sustained a hyperextended left knee as he averaged 95 per game. The increased touches led him to attack the basket 21 times per game, shooting 50 percent on 8 attempts per game. He has averaged 8 points per game on these drives.
Holiday will only maintain these statistics if Antetokounmpo is out for the rest of the playoffs. If Antetokounmpo returns, Holiday should revert back to the first 15 games of the playoffs. More importantly, Holiday isn’t a good long-term fit with Antetokounmpo because he can’t thrive off the ball consistently. Therefore, the Milwaukee Bucks should look to move him in the summer of 2022, in spite of the extension he signed this season.