Jrue Holiday to Pelicans: Did New Orleans Give Up Too Much in Draft-Day Trade?

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVJune 27, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23:  Jrue Holiday #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers plays against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on December 23, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New Orleans Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers shook up the landscape of the 2013 NBA draft with a huge move that sent Jrue Holiday to the Big Easy and Nerlens Noel to Philly. But did the Pelicans give up too much in order to get the All-Star point guard?

Yahoo! Sports reporter Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news on Twitter in a slew of tweets that summed up the blockbuster move.

The first reaction from NBA fans and experts to the trade was one of shock and awe that the Sixers would even contemplate moving Holiday, who has been touted as one of the league's up-and-coming floor generals.

Even players got in on the analysis, with former 76er Andre Iguodala offering some irony to his old team's front-office moves that reflects on his own departure:

But after closer inspection of the specifics of the deal, here's how it breaks down. The Pelicans get Holiday and the 42nd pick straight up for the sixth pick (Nerlens Noel) and their first-rounder in 2014. 

The first-round pick in 2014 doesn't shape up to be too bad of an option, either, as Chad Ford of ESPN pointed out:

On top of that, the 2014 draft should be a much stronger one than this year's, with potential game-changing prospects like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker set to come out. 

Add that realization to the obvious point that Noel could've (and perhaps should've) gone No. 1 this year, and the Sixers may very well have just landed two top overall picks, in essence, for Holiday.

The 23-year-old Holiday has massive upside, don't get me wrong. But hardly anyone in the league save for maybe a top-10 player is worth that kind of deal.

Apparently, the Pelicans have high hopes for Holiday, and they should. The former UCLA star has emerged as an All-Star after his fourth year, which culminated with 17.7 points and eight assists per contest, both career highs.

Also, Noel obviously doesn't fit in New Orleans' system quite like a strong point guard of Holiday's caliber. They already have Anthony Davis manning the post, and while the thought of having both shot-blockers on the post is enticing, it doesn't make sense from a basketball standpoint.

However, moving to get Holiday, who can start right away and make a big impact, does make sense. Alongside Eric Gordon, this could be one of the best backcourts in the NBA—and if anyone knows the importance of an elite point guard, it's New Orleans.

But the 2014 pick makes me scratch my head. If you want a real glimpse into just how much better next year's draft will be, take a look at this column from Adam Zagoria of Sheridan Hoops. 

Sure, the Pelicans benefited from picking up Noel at No. 6, and they used it as major trade bait. Sure, he might not turn into more than a defensive stopper or a Marcus Camby type.

But if this 2014 traded pick turns into a Wiggins, Parker or Julius Randle, expect New Orleans to look down at this trade for a long, long time.

Of course, much of it falls on Holiday's shoulders. If he becomes the next star point guard in the NBA and gels alongside Anthony Davis, the former Hornets will be just fine and could perhaps be building a young core of stars that will really make noise one day in the Association.

If that happens, this trade will be a win-win for both sides.

But to think that the Pelicans may have passed up on Andrew Wiggins will haunt New Orleans fans during the next college basketball season when he's tearing it up for Kansas.

The Pelicans got possibly the most valuable trade bait at No. 6, and it's hard to imagine a scenario where they could've gotten a better player in return than Holiday. That's what it comes down to for now, as we have no idea how next year's draft pick will turn out.

It'll be a year, or years, before we truly know who won this trade. But for right now, it doesn't look half bad for either organization.