Indiana Pacers: Aaron Holiday is a sleeper for Sixth Man of the Year

Aaron Holiday - Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Holiday - Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports /

The Indiana Pacers can have a great bench unit next season.

Assuming he returns to the bench in 2021, Indiana Pacers guard Aaron Holiday should be a candidate for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award. Holiday filled in for Victor Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon as they battled injuries last season and projects to be a crucial rotational piece next season.

Holiday was a huge contributor in 2019-20 as his minutes increased during his sophomore season. Splitting time off the bench and with the first team, Holiday averaged a respectable 9.5 points, 3.4 assists, and 0.8 steals.

If Indiana keeps the roster intact heading into the new season, Holiday will be a vital leader of the second unit once again. Along with T.J. McConnell, Holiday will run the backcourt for important minutes. He is a quality shot creator who is improving as a point guard in all facets. His uptick in production last season provides hope for what is to come in 2021.

Obviously, the Sixth Man of the Year award is not an easy one to accomplish. Lou Williams, the virtual lock to win the award each year, has done so by scoring at will off the bench. He has been a double-digit scorer in each season since 2007 with an average of 15.6 points per game in that span. He also added 3.7 assists to his resume in that time, making him a dynamic offensive weapon.

I do not expect Holiday to make the leap and be a 15 ppg scorer, especially off the bench. However, his overall game should make him, at the very least, a candidate to win it. If he can emerge as a double-digit scorer and bump his assists up to nearly five per game, he has a chance to fly under the radar.

Since joining Indiana in 2018, Aaron Holiday has been efficient in his role and has shown steady growth across the board. His shooting percentages all improved between his first and second seasons while his turnovers also dipped per 36 minutes. He should enter the season as the sixth man in Indiana with a chance to really put the league on notice.

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