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2018 NBA Draft Player Profile: Aaron Holiday

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UCLA junior guard with shades of Kyle Lowry will attempt to follow his brothers’ footsteps to the NBA

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament - Stanford vs UCLA Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Holiday is the brother of Chicago Bulls shooting guard Justin Holiday and All-Defensive First Team New Orleans Pelicans Guard Jrue Holiday. While not quite the size of either Justin (6’6”) or Jrue (6’4”), the youngest Holiday brother has gotten better each of his three seasons at UCLA. After starting all 32 games his freshman year, with the addition of Lonzo Ball, he became the Bruin’s primary backup as a sophomore, putting up 12.3 points and 4.4 assists off the bench. Returning to the starting lineup this year, he posted career highs in nearly every statistical category while playing 37.7 minutes a game, leading the PAC 12 in scoring. He’s projected to go between the 16th pick (Sports Illustrated) and the 28th pick (NBADraft.net), with most picks around the 22nd pick.

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament - Arizona vs UCLA Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

College Stats

  • Per game: 37.7 minutes, 20.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.2 blocks.
  • Per 40 minutes: 21.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.3 blocks.
  • Percentages: 48.6 2PT%, 42.9% 3PT%, 82.8% FT%
  • Advanced: 115.4 ORtg, 108.1 DRtg, 21.1 PER, 60.9 TS%, 9.8 win shares, 6.2 Box Plus Minus.
(Statistics per www.sports-reference.com)

Measurements

  • Age: 21 years old
  • Height: 6’1” (with shoes), 6’0” (without shoes)
  • Weight: 187 lbs
  • Wingspan: 6’7.5”
  • Standing Reach: 8’1”
(Measurements per stats.nba.com)

Strengths

Holiday seems to be quite similar to Kyle Lowry, with a broad, strong body (and a +6 inch winspan) that allows him to play above his height and weight. Like his brothers, Holiday is a very good 3-point shooter. He shot 41 percent or higher from downtown in each of his three seasons in college, shooting off the bounce, pulling up and spotting up. He’s mature and experienced, and would bring a heady calmness to any bench squad while providing spacing and playmaking. Interestingly, he is the second Bruin to average 19 points and five assists, joining eventual NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton (according to the LA Times). Check out the following DraftExpress video for his offensive highlights.

Weaknesses

Holiday, like Lowry, lacks an elite quickness, especially with his first step. His unremarkable athleticism and body measurements limits his upside defensively, which is his biggest question mark coming into the NBA, though he did earn Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honors this last year. Additionally, his assists-to-turnovers ratio (5.8 to 3.8) is quite high for an experienced point guard who will be 22 come the beginning of the 2018-19 NBA season. In general, while his bust potential is low, his ceiling isn’t very high either.

Utah Jazz Fit

It’s hard to see the Jazz spending a pick on him with Raul Neto, Dante Exum, Donovan Mitchell, and Ricky Rubio on the roster, despite his excellent free-throw and three-point shooting. Though his ability to shoot off the dribble and spot up, and play the pick and roll would fit well into the Jazz’s advantage offense, he may be a little too reminiscent of another former Jazz point guard pick from just a couple years ago (Trey Burke) as an offense-first guard. Holiday doesn’t have many holes in his game, but he doesn’t have a ton of upside either, so the Jazz will likely look to find someone who fills a more pressing need, particularly at the power forward position.

Additional sources / sources of reading: NBA.com, LA Times