Pelicans' David Griffin: Jrue Holiday Can Win MVP After Anthony Davis Trade

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2019

DENVER, COLORADO - MARCH 02: Jrue Holiday #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans plays the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on March 02, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. 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 Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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Most fans rightfully considered Anthony Davis the biggest star on the New Orleans Pelicans. With Davis now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Pelicans general manager David Griffin believes Jrue Holiday will have the freedom to take his game to another level.

During an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Griffin drew a parallel to Steve Nash and argued Holiday could enter the MVP conversation in the season ahead:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

David Griffin talking MVP for Jrue 👀 “Sometimes you need to be given permission to dominate people” (via @SiriusXMNBA) https://t.co/jKpd0WCM4u

Nash shared the spotlight with Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley during his stint with the Dallas Mavericks. Upon signing with the Phoenix Suns in 2004, Nash came to symbolize the franchise's "Seven Seconds or Less" era. He was a six-time All-Star and the back-to-back MVP in 2005 and 2006 in eight years with the Suns.

As outlandish as Griffin's comments might seem, Holiday is a year younger (29) than Nash was when he moved to Phoenix. Maybe he too can have a similar renaissance as the Pelicans' primary scorer and playmaker.

Nash had a clear edge statistically, though. According to Basketball Reference, he averaged 22.6 points and 11.0 assists per 100 possessions through his age-29 season. He also shot 46.5 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from three-point range.

Holiday, by comparison, has averaged 23.8 points and 9.7 assists per 100 possessions to start his career. He's also a 45.2 percent shooter and hitting 35.5 percent of his three-pointers. It also seems unlikely Holiday could be a drastically different player after 10 seasons in the league.

More than anything, Griffin was probably attempting to deflect some of the pressure away from No. 1 overall draft pick Zion Williamson. He already told reporters after the 2019 draft New Orleans "is Jrue Holiday's team."

Everybody expects Williamson to be the franchise cornerstone down the road, but it makes sense to put some of that burden on Holiday for the time being.