Jrue Holiday Will Help Spark Pelicans' Resurgence in Big Easy

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIJune 28, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 31: Thaddeus Young #21 and Jrue Holiday #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers high five in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center on October 31, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers won 84-75. 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 Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans are on the right track to get back into contention after a draft-day deal that garnered the franchise All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday.

New Orleans selected Nerlens Noel with the sixth pick of the 2013 NBA draft after the injured Kentucky center slid past the first five selections.

From there, it traded away Noel’s rights to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Holiday. Also changing hands in the deal is the Pelicans’ first-round pick in the 2014 draft and the No. 42 pick later in that draft, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.

According to Fletcher Mackel of WDSU in New Orleans, the pick New Orleans sent to Philly is slightly protected in the event that the Pelicans stumble next season and end up with a top-five selection.  

Struggle isn’t something the team hopes to do after adding an All-Star to a young and promising roster.

Coming away with an extremely talented and proven player like Holliday is a win for any team given the uncertainty of NBA draft prospects.

And talent is something Holliday has in spades.

The 22-year-old put up 17.7 points, eight assists and nearly two steals per game last season for the Philadelphia 76ers.

With Eric Gordon, Greivis Vasquez and Austin Rivers already in the team’s backcourt, New Orleans can afford to let Jarrett Jack go during free agency and actually get better in the process.

Sure, the Pelicans gave up draft picks to improve now, but isn’t that the idea? They found a legitimate NBA star in the making and he's still young and approaching his prime.

Holliday is a better player than anyone that was available in this draft, too. Did I mention he’s a proven commodity already? That alone gives this trade legitimacy for the Pelicans.

The point guard is a true facilitator who plays well on both ends of the court. His experience and excellence operating the pick-and-roll will come in handy when paired with Anthony Davis.

Having Ryan Anderson, Vasquez and Gordon to dish the ball to off of those plays will be an incredible dynamic to monitor next season in the Western Conference. Rivers also has one season under his belt and will benefit from the open looks his new teammate will be able to create for him.

Look for an immediate improvement next season as a result of this gutsy deal by GM Dell Demps.

They might not be title contenders right away, but simply being relevant will do wonders for the organization after last season’s debacle.