Kevin Pritchard and the Indiana Pacers have had a busy offseason and that business continued on Friday afternoon with the move to sign 3-and-D wing Justin Holiday. That’s right, the Pacers made yet another move that went under the radar as the league continues to sleep on the work that Indiana has done this offseason.
Indiana also has Justin’s younger brother, Aaron Holiday, on their roster.
Holiday is just the latest of big additions in Indiana. T.J. Warren was acquired on draft night for nothing but cap space, while the Pacers also were able to sign-and-trade for Malcolm Brogdon. Indiana also snagged Goga Bitadze in the 2019 NBA Draft and signed Jeremy Lamb in free agency.
Last, but certainly not least, the Pacers made two smaller free agency moves with point guard T.J. McConnell (who has not yet signed his contract but should soon) and seven-foot big man Amida Brimah.
Let’s take a moment to focus on Holiday. He may have waited a long time to sign, but that doesn’t mean that he has a ton of talent and has the potential to carve out a serious role with the Pacers.
Last season split between the Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies, Holiday ended up averaging 10.5 points per game to go along with 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists. He played much better before the trade, averaging 11.6 points and shooting 35.9 percent from the three-point line with the Bulls.
So, with all that being said, how is Holiday going to fit in with the Pacers moving forward this season?
Quite frankly, he is going to have a big role to start the season. Victor Oladipo is going to miss the first month or two of the season as he continues to recover from a ruptured quad. Holiday is going to be a key piece coming off the bench alongside his brother and will be asked to play top-notch defense and spread the floor.
Holiday has been known to be a streaky scorer. There are stretches where he can be a 16 point per game scorer, but other stretches where he can’t buy a bucket. Indiana is hoping to be able to help him become a more consistent scorer with the number of creators that they can place around him.
Brogdon and Oladipo are more than capable of creating for their teammates. Holiday will also be able to spot up around the perimeter and in the corner especially with two quality big men in Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.
Following Oladipo’s return, Holiday’s role becomes a bit more unclear. At that point in time, Oladipo and Lamb will be the primary shooting guard options and Warren is penciled in as the starting small forward. Doug McDermott is a deadly shooter and will command minutes at the small forward position off the bench.
Obviously, Holiday will be competing to prove that he deserves minutes ahead of McDermott in the rotation. Nate McMillan will have some tough decisions to make, but having too much talent is never a bad thing.
At 30 years old, Holiday brings veteran experience and is finally going to get the chance to compete on a playoff contending team. If the Pacers can hang around without Oladipo, they are going to be a team to watch in the latter stages of the year. Holiday is going to be a big part of making sure that they stay in contention until Oladipo returns.
Expect to see Holiday make an impact for the Pacers. He may be the last move that they made this offseason, assuming no others are made due to cap space, but he is going to be a vital part of Indiana’s playoff hopes this year.