Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday wins NBA’s Teammate of the Year

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday introduced
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Even after drafting Zion Williamson No. 1, the Pelicans dubbed themselves Jrue Holiday‘s team.

Holiday exemplifies so many laudable qualities – perspective, leadership, generosity, respectfulness. And that’s before getting to his two-way game that’s so revered by his peers. Holiday is the total package.

That earned him the NBA’s Teammate of the Year Award.

NBA release:

NBA players have selected New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday as the recipient of the 2019-20 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, the NBA announced today.

The award, presented annually since the 2012-13 season, recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.

More than 250 NBA players submitted their votes for the 2019-20 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award through confidential balloting conducted by the league office.  NBA players determined the winner from among the 12 nominees who were selected by a panel of league executives.

Full voting with first-, second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-place votes and total voting points:

1. Jrue Holiday (Pelicans): 53-35-32-21-43-1,041

2. Tobias Harris (76ers): 48-19-23-22-12-806

3. Kyle Korver (Bucks): 26-34-30-37-37-796

4. Udonis Haslem (Heat): 20-25-49-29-25-732

5. Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers): 27-23-32-29-22-700

6. J.J. Barea (Mavericks): 16-31-17-13-26-527

7. Patty Mills (Spurs): 8-39-13-29-22-527

8. Gordon Hayward (Celtics): 20-8-29-18-19-474

9. Jared Dudley (Lakers): 9-15-23-37-15-436

10. Myles Turner (Pacers): 19-14-8-11-19-380

11. Torrey Craig (Nuggets): 18-9-6-12-8-317

12. Serge Ibaka (Raptors): 3-15-5-9-19-206

This list is full of good teammates – from players like Damian Lillard leading through stardom to players like Udonis Haslem leading from the bench to players like Tobias Harris bringing joy to players like Kyle Korver quietly filling their roles.

But I’m also intrigued by players who finish last in nominated pools like this. Serge Ibaka seems like a good teammate. He can have fun. He plays hard. He has improved his on-court decision-making, which makes him easier to play with. But he has a nasty streak that – while maybe more endearing to his actual teammates – turns off voters in the rest of the league.

That’s what’s silly about this award. Though the league ended the absurd prohibition on players voting for their own teammates, players are still largely picking among players they’ve never been teammates with. Sometimes, the best teammates are the best teammates because they do things to become disliked by other teams. That won’t earn votes here, though.