A little less than a year ago, I was minding my own business, when I saw a headline that the Bucks had acquired Holiday and Bogdanovic. My first thought was that the Bucks were bringing in shooters to surround Giannis after the bubble bust against the Heat.
As always, I gave the team the benefit of the doubt. Justin Holiday and Bogdanovic from Utah should help with spacing. But I was curious what the Bucks gave up so I hit the link. It took me a paragraph or two to understand my mistake. Holy crap, it was Jrue, not Justin Holiday, and it was the guy from the Kings. We know how/where Bogdan ended up with the Hawks, so we will leave that alone.
So I began my journey in search of the real Jrue. How good is he? The first step was to compare him to Bledsoe. Using per/36 stats from their previous season.
Jru, 19.8 pts/53.7 ts%/6.9 ast/5.0 reb/1.7 steal
Bled 19.9 pts/57.1 ts%/7.2 ast/6.2 reb/1.2 steals
Well at first glance, you could say regular season Bledsoe was just as good as Jrue. Wow that was a lot to give up for a sideways move? Either Horst had lost it, or I was missing something. Time to dig deeper and write a fanpost. In the fanpost I focused on the magic of on/off.
So how did Jrue do in on/off this season? As predicted he rocked it again with a +7.1 (Bledsoe was -1.9 with NOLA). However Jrue also benefitted playing with Bud/Giannis and had a career best 59 ts%. So some of his effectiveness could be contributed with increase in ts%.
Then the playoffs happened and Jrue's post season ts% dropped below (48 ts%) vs Bledsoe's Bucks playoff 49 ts%. For many, the idea to get Jrue was justified by the theory that he would be better than Bledsoe in the playoffs. Lets look at playoff on/off.
Bledsoe's Bucks playoff on/off +5.4 (actually higher than I thought)
Jrus's Bucks playoff on/off +14.8 (holy crap that is crazy good, for example LeBron has a playoff on/off of +11.0, Curry has a +12.4)
How does a player with 48 ts%, 22 usg%, end up with a Hall of Fame playoff on/off? Seriously how does that happen?
Is defense or leadership that important in the playoffs? Lets look at some of the better defensive players playoff ts%, usg% and on/off.
Draymond Green 54 ts%, 17 usg%, and a whopping +14.2 playoff on/off
Kawhi Leonard 62 ts%, 24 usg%, +4.1 on/off
Danny Green 55 ts%, 15 usg%, +3.3 on/off
LeBron 59 ts%, 32 usg%, +11.0 on/off
Giannis 58 ts%, 31 usg%, +4.5 on/off
Iggy 55 ts%, 15 usg%, +2.5 on/off
Gobert 67 ts%, 16 usg%, +0.1 on/off
Ben Simmons 58 ts%, 18 usg%, +0.4 on/off
I look at these numbers and nothing really jumps out at me. Why is Jrue's career playoff on/off of +7.3 so high with such a low ts% (52)%? Well could it have to do with leadership?
With questions of leadership, I always defer to Stephen Covey, and top tier of leadership (level 5).
"Level 5 leaders are modest, shy and fearless and possess the capability to transform an organization from good to great without portraying themselves as wizards with magic wands."
When I try to describe Jrue, I think of words like humble and not needing to be the center of attention, yet not afraid of the biggest moments. If Giannis is the team's Batman, Jrue is not Robin, but a combination of Alfred and Lucius Fox. Without those two, Batman does not succeed. The leadership behind the Alpha.
In many ways Oscar Robinson played this role for Kareem. When looking for Jrue, what I find is the missing piece, NBA Champion and Gold metal winner.
Lets do it again.