Atlanta Hawks: Holiday is the Perfect Low-Risk, High Reward Signing


An important part of building an organization that becomes a perennial championship contender is learning how to mine the maximum value out of all your assets. Whether that means paying big money to retain a superstar, or searching the scrap heap for a cheaper player that can outperform expectations.

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By signing Justin Holiday (the brother of New Orleans Pelicans starting point guard Jrue Holiday), the Atlanta Hawks are attempting to do the latter. They hope to take a cheap player that has shown potential and turn him into a valuable piece of their wing rotation. Holiday has limited NBA experience, but on paper he has all the tools needed to develop into a solid NBA rotation player.

Holiday spent his college days at the University of Washington before going undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft. Holiday played in Belgium and the NBADL before beginning his NBA career. In April 2013, the Philadelphia 76ers signed him to finish out the regular season. He did not play very much during that rookie season, he only appeared in 9 games and averaged 4.7 points per game on 25 percent shooting.

He played the entire 2013-2014 season in Hungary after being waived by the Utah Jazz before the NBA season began. After a successful summer league stint with the Golden State Warriors, they signed Holiday to a one-year deal.

Last season saw Holiday shuffle between Golden State and the Santa Cruz Warriors (their D-League affiliate). He played in 59 games with the big boy Warriors, averaging 4.3 points and 1.2 rebounds per game on 38.7 percent shooting and 32.1 percent from deep.

Holiday only played 11.1 minutes per game for a loaded Golden State squad that would eventually win the NBA title, so all of his statistics come with the caveat of being from a small sample size. Per 36 minutes, those numbers jump to 13.9 points and 4 rebounds. Certainly not bad, though the low shooting percentages are still not ideal. Still, last season in Golden State he shot 46.2 percent on corner three-pointers, an even higher percentage than DeMarre Carroll’s 44.4 percent mark last season.

With more minutes and increasing development, I would expect Holiday’s shooting percentages to rise. During his career in Washington, Holliday saw his three-point percentage climb every season. He started his career shooting 0 percent his freshmen year, but finished his career shooting 35.9 percent from outside on 3.7 attempts per game.

Kevin Pelton of ESPN recently called Holiday’s skillset a “3 and D starter-kit”. It’s easy to see why. At 6-foot-6 he has the height and length to potentially guard small forwards, while also having the quickness to match-up with shooting guards.

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  • This is a perfect example of a low risk, high reward sign that the Hawks can afford to make, given their current roster situation. If Holiday develops into a “three and D” wing by playoff time, he will be the perfect replacement for DeMarre Carroll. If his numbers fail to improve when his minutes are increased, then they are only out a few million dollars the next two seasons. With the NBA salary cap about to skyrocket, they can afford to have some dead money on the books if the worst-case scenario is realized.

    It’s still July so there is plenty of time to speculate about how exactly Holiday will fit into the complex equation that is getting through an 82 game NBA season. In the meantime, enjoy a montage of Holiday showing off his skills for the Warriors.

    Next: Will a Change of Scenery Benefit Hardaway Jr.?

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