‘Jrue Holiday Doesn’t Get His Flowers’: Swapping Marcus Smart For Jrue Holiday Put Boston Celtics In Position For NBA Record 18th Championship 

Since the beginning of the season, the Boston Celtics have been a favorite to win the 2024 NBA championship. Boston took those expectations and ran away from the rest of the Eastern Conference and league with a 64-18 record in the regular season.

They did it with the league’s top-ranked offense and second-ranked defense. Led by superstar Jayson Tatum, who was just selected to his third consecutive first-team All-NBA, and his partner in crime Jaylen Brown, the Celtics just overwhelmed teams all season. 

Supporting their two stars are a plethora of quality role players who all play their role to a tee. There’s center Kristaps Porzingis and his ability to take bigs to the perimeter, while still protecting the rim with two blocks per game.

Guard Derrick White brings his hard leprechaun hat nightly and does whatever the team needs, albeit scoring, defense and assists. But, the piece that may have put the Celtics over the top was getting former Milwaukee Bucks star Jrue Holiday, who was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in the deal to get Damian Lillard. 

Jrue Holiday Is Key To Boston Celtics

The Blazers then traded Holiday to Beantown for center Robert Williams and guard Malcolm Brogdon.

The move also helped Boston replace longtime fan favorite Marcus Smart, who was dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies. 

Holiday For Smart Was An Upgrade

For years Smart, the one-time Defensive Player of the Year was the heart and soul of the Celtics. But after the team lost the 2022 NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors and then lost in seven games to the eighth-seeded Miami Heat in last season’s Eastern Conference finals, team president Brad Stevens felt he needed to make a change.

It’s not every day you have a chance to land a two-way player like Holiday to complete your starting five, and Stevens jumped at the opportunity. 

Holiday helped the Bucks win the 2021 NBA championships alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo. Bringing him in to replace Smart was an upgrade.

While Holiday never won the DPOY like Smart, he’s a better overall defender and a better offensive player. He also understands when and when not to shoot, which is something Smart struggled with his entire time in Boston.

Choosing Holiday Over Marcus Smart Was Best Move  

At the time of the trade, BetMGM’s Halvor Egeland told New England Sports Network that the move immediately made the Celtics co-favorites in the East with the Bucks.

“Marcus Smart was important to the Celtics, but Jrue is a better version of Smart. He may not show the same emotion, but Jrue is just as good, if not better, of a defender. He’s definitely a better decision-maker offensively and completes the roster nicely.”

Yes he does, to the tune of 76-20 including the playoffs. His play has helped the Celtics to the brink of their 18th championship, which would break the tie with the archrival Los Angeles Lakers. 

Usonis Haslem Touts Jrue Holiday

Miami Heat legend and current ESPN NBA playoff analyst Udonis Haslem had this to say about the Celtics acquiring Holiday during an appearance on “Get Up”:

“Jrue Holiday doesn’t get his flowers, but when the trade happened, I was cringing.”

Holiday’s two-way capabilities is a huge reason the C’s are here. In each round he’s made game-winning plays. In round one he harassed Heat guard Tyler Herro into 39 percent shooting from the floor and 33 percent from three.

In the round two he wreaked havoc on both ends, guarding both Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. His biggest play in the playoffs came in a Game 3 win at Indiana where he stripped Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard as he was driving for the tying basket. 

With a stat line of 13 points, six rebounds and five assists per game on 49 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent from three, it’s safe to say that if the Celtics do indeed win No. 18, Holiday’s imprint will be all over it. 

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