According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Jrue Holiday is headed to the Boston Celtics as part of the blockbuster Damian Lillard trade.
The Celtics are trading Robert Williams, Malcolm Brogdon, 2024 GSW 1st, 2029 unprotected BOS first to the Blazers, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/gx53jyH1RG— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 1, 2023
What this means for Colorado Buffaloes fans is that Holiday and Derrick White will form the best defensive background in the NBA. Both the UCLA and Colorado products were named to the All-Defensive teams this past year, with Jrue making 1st team and White making 2nd team. The two fit together so well it’s beautiful.
Holiday is getting older and got bullied by Jimmy Butler in the playoffs, but he’s still one of, if not the best on-ball defenders in the NBA. White is more dangerous off-the-ball, as he’s the best rim protecting guard in the league and is always alert and in the right place in help defense. This is better defensively than the White-Smart pairing, since Smart — now in Memphis — had a down season after winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2022.
This pairing works offensive too, even if they’re both combo guards rather than pure point guards. The offense will run through Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. These two will be asked to go all out the defensive end without much of an offensive burden besides spacing the floor and cutting/screening off the ball.
This trade also has implications for Jabari Walker, another forever Buff. Portland drafted Walker in the second round in the 2022 NBA Draft and he immediately impressed them with his basketball IQ and unselfish play. He earned minutes at the end of his rookie season and was poised for a rotation spot in his second season.
This trade complicates Walker’s role, as Robert Williams III will join Deandre Ayton in the Blazers’ frontcourt. It’s unclear if the Blazers will play a double-big lineup with Time Lord at power forward, or if they will play him off the bench at center. They could even trade him (and Malcolm Brogdon) before the move is finalized, since those are valuable players for would-be contenders.