Just four months after Jrue Holiday played in his first All-Star game, the Philadelphia 76ers traded him to the New Orleans Pelicans. The deal doesn't appear to be paying dividends for him or either team just yet.
Holiday returns to Philadelphia for the first time since the trade, the first stop on a three-game road trip for the Pelicans.
The deal cost the 76ers a talented, young point guard but netted them an additional 2014 draft choice along with Nerlens Noel, the sixth pick in this year's draft, but he's out for the season rehabbing from knee surgery.
Averaging 14.0 points and 7.3 assists, Holiday has not exactly played up to the All-Star level he reached a year ago when he had career highs of 17.7 points and 8.0 assists per game. Though he's running a New Orleans offense which averages a respectable 100.7 points, Holiday has seen many of his numbers take a dip, including field-goal percentage, average free-throw attempts and assist-to-turnover ratio.
Plus, his Pelicans (6-8) have the Western Conference's third-worst record and have lost four straight on the road.
The 76ers (6-10) aren't any better but stand 10th in the much weaker East, and they're giving up a league-worst 109.1 points per game.
When these teams met Nov. 16, the Pelicans won 135-98, shooting 60.5 percent from the field. Ryan Anderson led eight New Orleans players in double figures with 26 points, and Holiday scored 12 to go with 12 assists.
The Pelicans enter this meeting having lost back-to-back games, the latest in heartbreaking fashion to Golden State on Tuesday. Holiday found Eric Gordon for an open 3-pointer in the final seconds, but it rimmed out as the Warriors won 102-101.
"We have a lot of heart. That hurt, though, and I don't know anybody on this team wants to go out there and have a game like that as a team," Holiday said. "It was a team effort, obviously we don't want to disappoint ourselves or disappoint coach (Monty Williams)."
Holiday had 17 points, and Anderson came off the bench to lead the team with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Philadelphia has replaced Holiday in the backcourt with Michael Carter-Williams, who leads all rookies with 17.8 points and 7.0 assists per game. Carter-Williams has played four games since missing four, including the first meeting with New Orleans, because of a bruised left foot.
"I'm getting used to it, being out there with my teammates and just playing hard, getting used to the speed and physicality of the game," Carter-Williams said. "Just maintaining every single day, either on the practice court or the game."
Carter-Williams has totaled 52 points in the last two games, but had only three assists in each as the Sixers lost both. They're 3-1 when he has 10 or more assists.
The former Syracuse standout is tied for the league lead with 3.1 steals per game, including 16 over the last three.
"I didn't know really what to expect," the rookie said about his adjustment from college to the NBA. "I didn't know how hard it was going to be."
The 76ers have dropped eight of 10 since their 3-0 start.