What if the Bucks Had Opted for Chris Paul over Jrue Holiday?
The Milwaukee Bucks had an opportunity to trade for Chris Paul before this season began but opted to go another route, likely due to concerns over Paul’s age and $85 million remaining on the final 2 years of his contract. The other route they chose was Jrue Holiday.
To acquire Holiday, the Bucks sent out a package of Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, 3 first round picks (2020, 2025, 2027), and 2 first round pick swaps (2024, 2026). They also awarded Holiday with a 4 yr $160 million max extension this season that takes him through his age 34 season.
Although he has been a defensive stalwart, Holiday’s offensive production has been underwhelming at points during this playoff run. In Game 2, for example, the 1st Team All-Defense guard scored 17 points but shot just 7-21 from the field.
Coupled with his output from Game 1 where he shot 4-14 good for 10 points, it's merited to start to wonder: what if the Bucks had opted for Chris Paul over Jrue Holiday?
Paul scored 23 points in Game 2, shooting 10-20 from the field.
So far, through 2 games in the NBA Finals, here's how Jrue Holiday and Chris Paul have fared:
Jrue Holiday: 13.5 PPG / 6 RBG / 8 APG on 31.4% FG / 14.3% 3PT / 80% FT
Chris Paul: 27.5 PPG / 4 RBG / 8.5 APG on 56.4% FG / 58.3% 3PT / 80% FT
To expand these are their full playoff numbers:
Chris Paul: 19.3 PPG / 3.9 RBG / 8.7 APG on 48.5% FG / 44.4% 3PT / 89.7% FT
Jrue Holiday: 17.2 PPG / 5.6 RBG / 8.4 APG on 41.1% FG / 28.9% 3PT / 67.3% FT
With the Suns now up 2-0, it’s interesting to look at the even-greater-than-expected implications of that decision the Bucks made back in November to pass on a Chris Paul and instead trade for Jrue Holiday.
Let’s see if Jrue is able to tip the scale back in his and the Bucks favor in a decisive Game 3 at home tomorrow.