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How Jrue Holiday is viewing transition to Celtics after two weeks in Boston

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How Jrue Holiday is viewing transition to Celtics after two weeks in Boston

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Two weeks since he was suddenly traded to the Celtics, it seems that Jrue Holiday has enjoyed a relatively smooth transition to Boston. But he’s had one minor hiccup in the process.

“I’m still looking for a place to live,” Holiday said Monday. “It’s just the market’s weird, some things fell through, weird stuff happened. It never goes smoothly.”

Holiday’s been here before. The guard has been traded twice in his career, first in 2013 when he was dealt from the 76ers to the Pelicans and then again in 2020 when he was moved to the Bucks. The latter represents a more relatable situation to now, since the deal came early in the 2020-21 season, forcing Holiday to immediately acclimate to his new team like he is right now.

That transition went well, as Holiday ultimately won a championship in Milwaukee in his first season.

The Celtics, obviously, are hoping for the same result this time. Holiday wasted no time in his adjustment period. The morning after he was traded, he beat Brad Stevens to the practice facility. After his first preseason game with the Celtics, he said he had moved on from the crazy week of the trade. He’s put the focus on basketball and gaining chemistry with his teammates. The results, in two preseason appearances, have looked mostly seamless in the minutes he’s played despite just being traded.

“I think it varies for each person,” Holiday said. “Sometimes being traded or if there’s coaching changes or if there’s player changes, there’s always going to be a time where the transition is just a little different because of personnel. So for me, obviously everything is different on the court and off the court. But on the court, I take it very seriously. That’s something that I every day have questions, ask questions, try to get acclimated as quick as possible.”

The Celtics have two preseason games remaining, including Tuesday night against the Knicks in which coach Joe Mazzulla indicated that all of the regulars, including Holiday, will play as they try to build more chemistry. But Mazzulla said he’s been encouraged with practices during camp and the connectivity they’ve developed through game-like situations.

For Holiday, the transition has also been made easier by the presence of assistant coach Charles Lee, who coached Holiday for his three seasons in Milwaukee. Holiday said Lee has brought some schemes from Milwaukee to Boston.

“Charles has always been the type to be very teacher-esque,” Holiday said. “If I have any questions or anything like that, I could always go to him. But he’s always quizzing me on plays, he’s quizzing me on schemes. What we want to do defensively. Literally just walk up to me and ask me a question about something and I have to answer. So always just keeping my mind going, my mind engaged. …

“I kind of call him a teacher because when he talks you always have to pay attention,” Holiday continued of Lee. “He’s always kind of like hinting at the answer but kind of using your brain to think and really just think the game. So him being over here just makes it more natural for me.”

Praise for White

Derrick White may not get much attention since he’s not a star, but the Celtics guard clearly has earned respect around the league. After a preseason game on Sunday, Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell said that he wants to play like White this season.

“My inspiration has been Derrick White. I wanna be Derrick White,” Russell said. “He doesn’t get a lot of credit for what he does, makes all the winning plays, and that’s who I wanna be.”

White has proven to be one of the most dependable players on the Celtics on both ends, especially defensively after being named to the league’s All-Defensive second team last season.

“You can rely on him every single day,” Mazzulla said. “He understands it’s not always going to go his way and he always has really good body language. He’s one of our intangible leaders because he kind of brings it every single day and we can heavily rely on him in those areas, so, that’s a great goal to have, to be someone like him. I still think he’s underrated from a defensive standpoint because of how good he is, and hopefully if he continues to grow offensively we can see a different side of him as well there.”


There was a report from ESPN last week that USA Basketball was aggressively pursuing Holiday to return for Team USA at next summer’s Olympics. Asked on Monday, Holiday said he hasn’t heard anything but expressed his interest in a return. He helped Team USA win the gold medal at the 2020 Olympics.

“Would I like to hear from them? Why not?” Holiday said. “I’d like to see what we can do out there.” …

While Mazzulla has not yet committed to a starting lineup, Holiday echoed his coach’s words from over the weekend about it not mattering to him.

“It’s not that big of a deal,” Holiday said when asked how important starting is to him. “I like winning. Winning is really important. Playing good on the court is important. Supporting my teammates is important. So it’s not always how you start, it’s how you finish.” …

Jeff Van Gundy, who was recently hired by the Celtics as a senior consultant, was spotted after Monday’s practice at the Auerbach Center. He was on the side of the practice courts having a long chat with Brad Stevens.

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