Justin Holiday on Re-Signing with the Pacers

December 2, 2020: Justin Holiday discusses why he decided to stay in Indiana as a member of the Pacers.

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Justin Holiday on Re-Signing with the Pacers

December 2, 2020: Justin Holiday discusses why he decided to stay in Indiana as a member of the Pacers.
Dec 2, 2020  |  02:14

Cassius Stanley on First Impressions of Indy, Learning from Veterans

Dec. 2, 2020 - Pacers rookie Cassius Stanley discusses his early impressions of the Pacers' facility and coaching staff, his expectations for training camp, and learning from Indiana's veterans.
Dec 2, 2020  |  02:20

Victor Oladipo 2019-20 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Victor Oladipo's 2019-20 season.
Sep 13, 2020  |  01:00

Bjorkgren on Practice, Calbert Cheaney & Managing a Season

Dec. 1, 2020 - Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren discusses the start of the 20-21 season, why he hired Calbert Cheaney and managing a long season in the NBA.
Dec 1, 2020  |  02:33

Justin Holiday Talks New Contract, Love for Indiana

by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

NBA veteran Justin Holiday has bounced between seven teams during his seven years in the league, including two separate stints with the Chicago Bulls. But this year is a little different for the journeyman.

He's found a home with the Indiana Pacers.

On Nov. 22, it was announced that the Pacers re-signed the versatile guard/forward to a new contract. The new three-year deal is the longest contract of his career.

"I hate free agency," Holiday stated near the start of his press conference. "To be honest with you, I feel like I'm one of the guys — for whatever reason — I'm not ever really respected as far as, shoot, how much you get paid. I've shown time and time again, in different situations, being put in different situations as far as on a winning team, losing team. And, again, being on a team that's going to be in the playoffs, being on a good team and have my best year showing how much I actually am worth — and being able to get that is just something that's very hard, I guess for me, for whatever reason."

Holiday certainly proved his worth to the Blue & Gold during the topsy-turvy 2019-2020 NBA season, shooting a career-best 40.5 percent from 3-point range during the regular season. It was the 19th-best percentage in the league this year. The 6-6, "3-and-D" player also averaged a team-high 1.2 steals per game in his first year with Indiana and was the only player to appear in all 73 regular-season games.

But while free agency has been the cause of frustrations for Holiday in the past, this year it brought the comfort of finally calling a team home for the foreseeable future.

"From that aspect, this is a blessing," he said of his new contract. "That's one thing I've always wanted. You know, I'm an old-school guy mentally in the sense of like, I wish I was drafted to one team and stayed there my whole career, you know. That's what I grew up watching. I've always longed to have just a place to call home and a team that I can just give everything to, and a team that wants me. And I have that now."

His excitement to remain in Indianapolis extended beyond the organization as well, as he praised the positivity he's received from fans.

"The fans have been great to me here," he commented. "So, it's not just the organization that wants me here. The fans want me here. It was a big deal for them, you know. When I was going through free agency, and even before that, (I was) getting a lot of messages, comments, and things like that of them wanting me back."

He then expressed how the fans' reactions not only to his on-court contributions but also his off-court work impacted his decision to remain in Indianapolis.

"I think that means a lot because, yes, I am a basketball player," he added. "But playing this game, you know, is my job. But, I'm also trying to help others, encourage others, and be a good example for how you live life, period.

"So to hear people say that I'm good for the team on the floor but as well as off the floor is a big deal to me...Indiana is a very very dope place to play because you get love from everyone all around. I literally don't feel like I'm playing in a city and like, 'dang, people don't like me.' And I really feel the love from everyone. That's, again, a big deal to me because I just want to be somewhere where people want me and appreciate me. And I think I found that."

Stanley Jumping Right Into Rookie Year

Life moves pretty fast for a college basketball player that's been selected in the NBA Draft. This year, that speed has increased tenfold due to the quick turnaround induced by the looming presence of COVID-19. On Nov. 18, the Indiana Pacers selected Duke University freshman guard Cassius Stanley with the 54th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Now, he has to prepare for the start of the NBA preseason which is just 10 days away.

"I think I had like two or three days to pack up, get all my stuff ready," Stanley said to media members Wednesday afternoon. "And I came out this week and immediately the next day we had workouts. I'm still finding a place right now. I think I just secured my apartment."

Despite the quick turnaround for the rookie, he explained that he was happy to be here and excited to get to work.

"My expectations are to just come in and play hard," he said. "Play super aggressive, play hard. You know, leave it all on the floor...I'm coming in ready to just show that hard, that tough, that aggressive playstyle that I have."

The flashy, explosive guard with a penchant for highlight-reel dunks comes into a Pacers backcourt that has quite a bit of NBA experience. The 2020-21 NBA season will be point guards Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. McConnell's fifth and sixth years in the league, and shooting guard Victor Oladipo's eighth. And though a torn ACL suffered during the 2019-20 season may delay the start to his season, this will be Jeremy Lamb's team-high ninth year in the NBA. Stanley says he has learned a lot already from his experienced teammates.

"I really ask a lot of questions," he commented. "My locker mate to the left of me is Victor (Oladipo). So I've been asking him a ton of questions — and everyone I've been asking a lot of questions because I'm not going to come in here and act like I know what I'm supposed to do because I have no idea. I think the best thing to do is to ask the questions, even if they're dumb."

Even with quick turnaround, Stanley is up for the challenge and is ready to make an impact during his rookie season.

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