NBA

NBA Study: How many times has Jrue Holiday been snubbed from an All-Star team?

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Jrue Holiday, Boston Celtics.

Key Highlights: 

  • Holiday is currently the favorite to win the 2024 NBA Finals MVP award (according to NBA.com).
  • Holiday has long been a player who has been underestimated by mainstream media and fans.
  • Based on his statistical profile, one could argue that Holiday should have three more All-Star nominations than he currently does now.

With the Boston Celtics holding a commanding 2-0 lead over the Dallas Mavericks in the 2024 NBA Finals, some people’s eyes have shifted toward who will the Finals MVP award.

NBA.com keeps a Finals MVP ladder that they update throughout the series, and in a surprising turn of events, it is Jrue Holiday who holds the top spot. Through two games, Holiday is averaging 19 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 4.0 APG, and 1.0 SPG on 76.7% true shooting.

While I personally believe that Jayson Tatum has been the Celtics’ most valuable player (read the recent article I wrote on him here), it is cool to see Holiday – a player who has long been overlooked by the mainstream media and fans – finally getting the recognition he deserves.

So, to commemorate this glorious occasion, I thought it would be a great idea to dedicate the latest edition of NBA Study to try and figure out how many times Holiday has been overlooked by the NBA world.

Why Are We Doing This?

By many accounts, Holiday has a magnificent list of career achievements. He’s put together a decade-and-a-half (and counting) of high-level professional basketball, earning six All-Defensive Team nominations and an NBA Championship (potentially two if this series lead holds) in the process.

However, Holiday has only been nominated to two All-Star teams (in 2012-13 and 2022-23). Many people in the analytical community (myself included) believe that his career resume should include more All-Star selections. In this article, we try to estimate how many of those he’s missing out on.

How Are Doing This Way?

I want to start by saying that when I talk about having an All-Star caliber season, I’m not talking about if you would have made the All-Star roster in your specific conference. I’m talking about whether or not you were a top-25 caliber player in the entire league during the season in question.

The reason for this is that, oftentimes, one conference is more talented than the other (usually, the West is more loaded than the East). As a result, you end up with players having a top 35/40 caliber season making the All-Star team for the weaker conference.

With that clarification out of the way, let’s explain our methodology. The best/most accurate way to do this would be to do a deep dive into each NBA season since Holiday entered the league (2009-10). That analysis would take countless hours of research. And to be fair, such a subject wouldn’t generate the attention necessary to justify the time spent.

So, instead, we are going to look at commonly-cited one-number metrics (Box Plus-Minus, Estimated Plus-Minus, C-RAM, and LEBRON) and plus-minus data (on-court plus-minus per 100 possessions and on-off plus-minus per 100) to get a sense of Holiday’s standing in the league during his 15-year career.

Our Results

Here is Holiday’s league ranking in all six of those measures we mentioned in the previous section. The data for this chart was pulled from Basketball Reference, Dunks & Threes, Cerebro Sports, and BBall Index. Keep in mind that since EPM blends in tracking data, it only extends back to 2013-14.

Jrue Holiday Career One-Number Metrics (League Ranking)

BPM On-Court

Plus-Minus

On-Court

On-Off

EPM CRAM LEBRON
2009-10 167th 167th 119th N/A 218th 211th
2010-11 85th 77th 47th N/A 73rd 66th
2011-12 99th 58th 110th N/A 95th 129th
2012-13 91st 141st 57th N/A 49th 199th
2013-14* 88th 116th 54th 46th 71st 81st
2014-15* 29th 68th 77th 25th 58th 47th
2015-16 43rd 126th 22nd 55th 80th 53rd
2016-17 56th 130th 55th 39th 49th 84th
2017-18 49th 53rd 5th 27th 23rd 32nd
2018-19 34th 60th 5th 19th 21st 17th
2019-20 57th 123rd 43rd 24th 39th 51st
2020-21 31st 12th 26th 16th 37th 23rd
2021-22 30th 14th 2nd 9th 42nd 16th
2022-23 30th 7th 5th 22nd 46th 18th
2023-24 47th 13th 184th 76th 77th 122nd

*Played under 50 games in this season.

What Do These Numbers Mean?

First off, it looks like Holiday was credited with an unwarranted All-Star appearance in 2012-13. In that season, even the metric that viewed him the most positively (CRAM) saw him as more of a top 50 player than a top 25 one.

The first time any of these statistics start to see Holiday as flirting with an All-Star level was 2014-15 when he ranked 29th in the NBA in BPM and 25th in EPM. Unfortunately, injuries regelated him to just 40 games in that season. So, it is hard to say that he was an All-Star caliber player in that season.

Holiday doesn’t get consistent All-Star love until 2017-18. In that season, his on-off plus-minus is among the best in the league (5th). Some of this could be a result of the New Orleans Pelicans not having an adequate backup option. But most of it is likely the byproduct of all the little things Holiday does to impact winning that box score centric metrics (like BPM) have trouble picking up on.

Of all these metrics, EPM and plus-minus data are the ones I feel the most comfortable trusting, since they aren’t as married to the box score as other one-number measures. The reason box score related statistics undersell Holiday’s value is because they overlook the elements of the game that make Holiday so valuable (cutting, defense, quick decision-making, feel for spacing, physicality, matchup versatility, etc.).

Anyway, with those caveats in mind, every season between 2017-18 and 2022-23 (with the exception of 2019-20) paints Holiday as an All-Star caliber performer.

The Bottom Line

Based on the numbers we’ve looked at (which, by the way, is not an end-all-be-all), Holiday likely shouldn’t have been an All-Star in 2012-13. However, he should have earned five nominations from 2017 to 2023 instead of the one he ended up with from that time. That means that, at least based on this study, Holiday should have three more All-Star selections to his name.

Oh well, I’m sure Holiday would much rather prefer adding a second NBA title and a Finals MVP to his illustrious basketball resume.

If you enjoyed this edition of NBA Study, be sure to check out other studies we’ve done, like the one we did on the return of classical bigs and the one we did on the best rookie seasons in NBA history