Aaron Holiday looked impressive in Summer League, but will the Indiana Pacers rookie be the best NBA player out of his talented family?
Aaron Holiday appears to be a player that, if he develops, would be a steal for the Indiana Pacers.
Granted, this is a small sample size of work. The real test will come when he plays alongside the rest of his Pacer teammates. Expecting Holiday to become a Circle City version of Donovan Mitchell may not be entirely fair.
It is fair, however, to daydream about an offense led by and Mitchell-esque Holiday and Victor Oladipo in the years to come. And, according to NBA history, it may be fair to expect Holiday to develop and become better than his older brothers.
There are quite a few sets of brothers in the NBA today. Arguably the most notable are the Lopez twins, the Curry brothers, and (of course) the Holiday brothers. If one compares the career statistics between NBA brothers, a pattern begins to emerge: The youngest brother tends to be a better player.
A possible theory for this trend can be found in a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Review. This study took 700 brothers in Major League Baseball and analyzed the performance data between the brothers.
What they found was that the younger brothers were “more than ten times more likely to attempt the high-risk activity of base stealing and three times more likely to steal bases successfully” according to the study by Frank J. Sulloway and Richard L. Zweigenhaft.
What explanation did Sulloway and Zweigenhaft give for these findings? That as a younger sibling, risky behavior is the way to stand out and grab the attention away from an older sibling. In short: In order to gain attention, the younger siblings have to find a way to stand out. They don’t play as conservatively.
Let’s look at three cases of NBA brothers and how the younger brother stands out against the older brother.
Zeller vs Zeller
First, let’s look at a set of Indiana-grown brothers with Tyler and Cody Zeller. Looking at the career stats between the two Washington, Indiana natives, you may notice a lack of a gap between their career numbers.
Tyler, the older of the two brothers, has averaged 7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game over his career. Cody has averaged 7.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game over his career so far. While Cody does have slightly better numbers I want to point out one other reason why Cody is the more valuable of the two.
Tyler began his career during the 2012-2013 season and has already played for four franchises. Cody has only played for one. While this fact may not seem relevant, I would like to make the case that Tyler has been deemed expendable by four different teams in his career while Cody, despite injuries, has been protected by the Charlotte Hornets. In my eyes, this makes widens the gap between Cody and Tyler.
The Grant Brothers
Next up, the Grant Brothers. Jerian Grant has spent time with the Knicks, Bulls, and now the Magic, accumulating 6.6 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. Jerami, the younger of the two, began his career with the 76ers and is currently playing for the Thunder.
Jerami has better numbers than his brother in two of the three major categories: 7.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, and falls short with 1 assist per game. He is a better scorer and rebounder than his brother but is unable to find his teammates as well as Jerian.
Finally, the two oldest Holiday brothers. Jrue, a former All-Star, has helped make a name for himself again in New Orleans, helping lead the Pelicans in a sweep of the Trailblazers in the opening round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs. Justin, however, is the definition of a journeyman playing for the 76ers, Warriors, Hawks, Bulls, Knicks, and most recently the Bulls.
Justin has a respectable 7.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game line on his NBA resumé, but Jrue is clearly the better brother. Jrue’s career averages are 14.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game, major jumps compared to Justin.
And guess what? Jrue is younger than Justin, so the pattern continues here.
As a younger sibling, you have a desire to stand out and establish yourself as an individual. Sibling rivalry instills a deep desire to stand out against the competition; winning more, scoring more, performing better than everyone else. We have begun to see Holiday’s desire to stand out on the court this summer. Hopefully, his desire rises to the challenge in his rookie season and beyond.