Indiana Pacers: Grading Justin Holiday’s solid season at the hiatus

The Indiana Pacers signed Justin Holiday to a one-year deal for this season. How has he performed?

Indiana Pacers wing Justin Holiday has taken some time to find his role and find his footing in the NBA. After going undrafted in 2013, Holiday found himself fighting for his place in this league, struggling to get 15 minutes per game in his first few years with the Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, and Atlanta Hawks.

Holiday’s first glimpse at real playing time would come with the Chicago Bulls in 2018 where he would play over 30 minutes per game in 72 contests, averaging 12.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.

Following that year, Holiday started the season with Chicago but would continue on his NBA tour, getting traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Finding a home has been difficult for Holiday, and his one-year contract with the Indiana Pacers had the possibility of turning into just another pit-stop for the role-playing Holiday brother.

Joining his brother, Aaron, in Indiana, though, this certainly would feel a bit more like home.

The Pacers signed Holiday to a $4.7 million contract with their room exception. There wasn’t much to lose with adding Holiday, and he’s performed quite well this year.

Let’s look at his work on both ends of the year and grade his season.

How has Pacers wing Justin Holiday performed on offense?

On offense, Justin Holiday has had a season similar to that of his previous years. He lacks the sheer volume offense needed to score at a high level in the NBA and serves as more of an ancillary player to an offensive system.

For the Pacers, that’s perfectly fine. They have plenty of players that need the ball in their hands to create offensive opportunities for themselves, and Holiday’s willingness to integrate into the fabric of the team while not needing too many touches is important.

Per 36 minutes, Holiday is taking the least amount of shots in his entire career, but scoring at a pace that rivals that of his highest seasons.

This is largely due to his solid 3-point shooting this season, he’s hitting a career-high 42.4 percent of his 3-point attempts, most impressively on fewer open and wide-open attempts this year. He’s taking more challenging shots and sinking a greater amount of them.

While Holiday fills his role well, he’s not an impact player on the offensive end, which holds his grade back.



How has Pacers wing Justin Holiday performed on defense?

While Holiday’s offense has been at the best of his career this year, and acceptable for the needs the Pacers have, his defense has been the selling point.

Holiday stands at 6-6 and has incredible length, allowing him to get his limbs in passing lanes and deflect passes and gain steals as those opportunities present themselves.

Logging the second-most steals with 1.2 and third-most deflections per game for the Pacers this season at 1.9, Holiday combines incredible awareness with his frame to get out in front of passes.

Similar to his offensive production, his defensive skillset sometimes takes a supporting role to the team’s most important defenders. When Domantas Sabonis and Aaron Holiday trap a player and they’re forced to make an ill-advised pass, Holiday is often launching himself into the right place to intercept.

I took a look at five defensive clips specifically from Holiday, and they really help display his defensive awareness and physical attributes that blend for a really strong defensive game.

Even more important is the ability and willingness on Holiday’s part to fill into multiple positions on the defensive end. In various scenarios this year, he’s flexed his versatility and filled into guarding players 1-through-4 depending on the team’s needs on any given night.

Holiday logged the team’s second-best defensive box plus/minus this season.



Justin Holiday overall 2019-20 Indiana Pacers grade



Justin Holiday hasn’t provided a ton of scoring or impact on the offensive end, but he’s been an aware and present defender. Combining his length with strong awareness and versatility, he’s been one of the team’s best on the defensive end, and has earned himself a larger contract.