After Breakout Summer League, Holiday Believes He Has a Role in the NBA
Among a crop of about 250 players at the Samsung NBA Summer League, Justin Holiday was heralded as one of the tournament's breakout players. In the Golden State Warriors' second and third games, the 6-6 wing combined for 55 points and 16 rebounds, including a game-winning put-back versus the Phoenix Suns.
Holiday’s Summer League performance certainly gave NBA scouts and general managers something to think about as they consider which players to invite to their preseason training camps.
The attention and gaudy numbers were nice, but Holiday insisted that he never tries to force the issue offensively, opting instead to let the game come to him. After his second big game, he said, “It feels good to be a breakout player. But I didn’t really look to do that. I just look to play my game and it has been working out for me.”
Holiday knows this will be the approach necessary if he makes it back to the NBA. He earned a 10-day contract with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2013, and though his time with the Sixers was brief, Holiday learned a lot about his role in the NBA.
“I know if I’m on an NBA team, I’m not going to be the guy going one-on-one," he said. "So I try to pick my spots so I can knock down jump shots, come off screens -- things that can realistically happen to me at the NBA level. I may only get two or three shots per game, so I’ve got to knock them down.”
This disciplined, efficient game was on display in Las Vegas, but it originates from Holiday's time in the NBA D-League during the 2012-13 season while playing alongside plenty of talented players on the Idaho Stampede.
“There were a lot of benefits to playing with the Stampede," he said. "I figured out how to contribute myself and also get other guys involved, because I was able to play with a lot of players that were really good and guys that could score.”
As the older brother of New Orleans Pelicans All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, Justin is no stranger to playing with and against great players. Born just 14 months apart, the brothers are incredibly close -- “pretty much the closest we could be to being twins," Justin said.
“We work on every part of our game together: ball handling, shooting, defense. We play one on one with each other.”
Beating an NBA All-Star in one-on-one is surely a confidence-booster. And while Justin Holiday realizes he may not be a franchise cornerstone like his younger brother, he is convinced there is a role in the NBA for him: “We grew up together, so I know what it takes to get to that level. Jrue helps me a lot with my confidence. When I see him do well, it motivates me to do well.”