Jrue Holiday Named to NBA All-Defensive Team
In the NBA this season, scoring streaks, triple doubles, and stars making their mark on new teams earned most of the headlines. Behind the scenes, there’s a small group of players whose efforts might not light up the scoreboard or re-write the history books, but still contribute to their teams’ success on a nightly basis. They’re the ace defenders who take pride in shutting down their opponent’s offensive star, grabbing as many rebounds as possible, breaking through screens, and stacking up steals. One of the most prolific stoppers in the league is Momentous ambassador Jrue Holiday, whose consistent excellence earned him a place on the NBA All-Defensive Second Team with Klay Thompson, Joel Embiid, Draymond Green, and Kawhi Leonard.
“Growing up playing against my brothers, I hated being scored on from a young age,” Jrue said. “When someone crosses you over or tries to dunk on you, it’s just disrespectful. I took it personally and decided I was going to be aggressive defensively on every possession. These days it’s hard to completely shut down a great scorer like James [Harden], Kevin [Durant], or Steph [Curry] who can easily go for 40 or 50, but I try to at least disrupt them. My mentality is, ‘I'm going to stop you from scoring on me and then the next time down, I'm going to score on you.’ It definitely breaks guys down.”
This is the second time that Jrue’s five-star defensive play has earned him league-wide recognition. The 6-foot-4 New Orleans Pelicans guard was also included on the All-NBA Defensive First Team for the 2017-2018 campaign. This time, he received 31 votes for the first team and 28 for the second team from the panel of 100 NBA sportswriters and broadcasters. Jrue was one of only four guards in the NBA who compiled at least 300 rebounds, 100 steals, and 50 blocks during the regular season, and he led the league in blocks for a guard (0.81 per game) and number of contested field goals per game (14.2).
He was also fifth among all guards in deflections per game (3.1) and racked up 1.6 steals per game for the fifth time in his career, and ended the season with per game averages of 21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 7.7 assists (ninth in the league). These statistics are all the more remarkable given that Jrue battled serious leg injuries for three seasons and also took time off to be with his wife Lauren as she battled a brain tumor (she is now thankfully cancer-free).
“I've always played hard and I've played my heart out,” Jrue said. “I know that when a lot of guys get injured they think, ‘Can I still hoop?’ or ‘Can I still perform the same way I did before the surgery?’ Being hurt for close to three years, I was waging this battle inside myself, wondering if I could still do this. I was determined to prove to other people that I wasn’t done yet. And I still think I’ve got a lot left in the tank.”
One of the things that helped Jrue bounce back from being hurt is his evolving approach to nutrition. As a young player first coming into the league, he had to learn how to best fuel his body to perform and recover over the course of the grueling 82-game season, and to eat better on the road. Momentous ArcFire Veracruz Vanilla has become an important component of his daily routine.
“When I first came into the NBA I didn’t care about what I ate because my body would let me get away with anything. Even though my grandmother stayed with me and prepared homecooked meals, I’d work out, go to Taco Bell, shoot around, go to McDonald’s, hang out late with my friends. And because I was young it didn’t seem to matter. But now I’ve been in the league for almost 10 years, I can’t do that anymore. Some games I play 40-plus minutes and have to go out and do it again the following night. Improving my nutrition has been a game changer for me and Momentous is a big part of that. Instead of being sluggish in the morning, I get up with lots of energy and can bounce back strong for a workout, practice, and the next game.”
The results of Jrue’s hard work and commitment are evident in his stellar efforts on the court play after play, game after game, and year after year. We can’t wait to see what the 2019-2020 NBA season has in store for this ultimate competitor.