3 reasons Pacers should trade either Aaron Holiday or T.J. McConnell
The Indiana Pacers have already played 50 regular-season games this time around while the talented Eastern Conference franchise has produced 31 victories across that span. At 31-19 on the year, the Pacers are clicking on all cylinders while currently sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
However, despite the team’s early success in 2019-20, the Pacers have been without superstar shooting guard Victor Oladipo for the majority of the regular season. Oladipo infamously suffered a devastating lower leg injury late in the year last season and only recently returned to the fold in Indiana on a somewhat limited basis.
Because the Pacers have now welcomed back Oladipo, managed to secure proven guards over the course of the most recent offseason and drafted well over the years, Indiana currently has a wealth of talent in the backcourt. As a result of this very good problem to have, perhaps the well-rounded Eastern Conference franchise can get creative ahead of this year’s NBA trade deadline.
One way in which the Pacers can get creative this month would be to trade either Aaron Holiday or T.J. McConnell.
Trade T.J. McConnell: Aaron Holiday is a better three-point shooter
Everyone knows that in order to win in today’s NBA, teams must focus on their ability to shoot three-pointers. With that being the case for the Indiana Pacers as well, the team should prioritize retaining Aaron Holiday over T.J. McConnell as the former is a better three-point shooter than the latter — as it stands today.
Entering Tuesday, Holiday was shooting 42.4 percent from behind the arc, which is well above the NBA average of about 35 percent. For his NBA career, which is now just under two years old, Holiday has shot nearly 39 percent from three-point range, which is still above the league norm.
On the other hand, McConnell is currently shooting 33.3 percent from three-point range in his first season as a member of the Pacers. Previously spending his entire NBA career with the Philadelphia 76ers, McConnell is a career 33.5 percent three-point shooter.
It is also worth noting that not only does Holiday shoot a better percentage from three-point land, but the up-and-comer attempts significantly more shots of this kind as well.
Trade Aaron Holiday: T.J. McConnell is the glue guy every team needs
Even during his time as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, which spanned between 2015-16 and 2018-19, veteran guard T.J. McConnell served as one of the league’s best “glue guys.” Not only does he hustle on every play, but he is a force on the defensive end in addition to serving as a legitimate presence on offense as well. With his ability to pass the rock, steal the basketball from the opposition, sneak cheap rebounds and doing just about everything in between that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, a player like McConnell should be on every single team in the NBA.
It is not nearly as hard to find shooting threats or potent scorers as it once was, making players like McConnell rarer these days. For that reason, it would be hard for the Pacers to part ways with such a dynamic role player that can simply do it all in terms of the intangibles.
While Aaron Holiday is certainly a talented young player, he is more of a traditional presence on the floor. As a result, Holiday’s type of output can typically be replicated with another similar player or even multiple players if necessary.
Trade T.J. McConnell: Aaron Holiday has yet to truly develop
Aaron Holiday is just 23 years old and has not even been in the NBA for two whole seasons as it stands today. On the other hand, former Philadelphia 76ers and current Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell has played atop the highest since back in 2015-16.
While Holiday is clearly still developing as a professional player, it seems as though McConnell has already reached his peak and can provide pretty much what you see today. With neither player really breaking the bank for Indiana, the Pacers may choose to stick with Holiday a little longer in this scenario as there might still be some untapped potential hanging around in there.
It is also worth mentioning that Holiday will remain under team control through at least the 2022-23 campaign with McConnell slated to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2021-22 season. With that being said, though, perhaps teams from around the league that may attempt to trade with the Pacers will be more interested in possibly acquiring Holiday because of such control going forward.