Free agent Justin Holiday (yes, the brother of Aaron Holiday) has reached agreement with the Indiana Pacers on a one-year, $4.8 million deal (the full room exception), reports The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Holiday, whose numbers dipped after being acquired by the Memphis Grizzlies mid-season, will likely stand-in at back-up two until Victor Oladipo returns to action and then provide depth and compete for reserve wing minutes with Doug McDermott once Jeremy Lamb slides back to the bench.
Even as just a 10th or 11th man, it will be intriguing to see if Justin’s presence has a direct effect on Aaron’s cognizance (or lack thereof) of shooters when he collapses the defense. Too often last season, McDermott sprinted ahead of the action in transition only to flail his arms around in the corner like a wacky inflatable tube guy in a used car lot.
To be fair, McDermott’s depressed shot volume was also at times self-inflicted, a product of passing out of shots that would require him to create space for himself when defenses prevented him from cutting backdoor or crowded him coming off screens, but this phenomenon — at least with respect to Indiana’s rising sophomore guard — also cropped up a time or two during Summer League with two-way player Brian Bowen getting the short end of the stick.
That needs to change, not only for Aaron’s own development as a more well-balanced playmaker, but also because over 90 percent of Justin’s threes were assisted last season, and he was substantially more accurate firing closer attempts from the corners (41.4 percent) than he was launching longer shots from above the break (31.5 percent). He also didn’t fair so well in Memphis when his shot profile was divested of threes, and replaced with off-the-dribble forays.
In 38 games with Chicago, over 65 percent of his shots were threes, which he canned at a respectable 35 percent clip. With the Grizzlies, barely half of his shots were threes, and his conversion rate sank to 33 percent. Meanwhile, his already iffy field-goal percentage on shots coming off at least two dribbles struggled to hold up on higher volume, dropping from 40 percent down to 35 percent.
At age 30, Justin still has the tools to provide 3-and-D depth on the cheap, but he’s going to need his younger brother (as well as the rest of Indiana’s guards) to put those tools to work — at least on the offensive end of the floor.
With the eldest Holiday brother in tow, 6-foot-6 slasher Edmond Sumner will likely have his work cut out for him at training camp to crack the pre-Oladipo rotation, as will Doug McDermott (who is set to earn $7.3 million next season) once the two-time All-Star returns.
Pending the official signings of Sumner, Holiday, and McConnell, Indiana’s standard roster now stands at 14, one spot shy of the league maximum.