Justin Holiday 2019-20 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Justin Holiday's 2019-20 season.

Justin Holiday 2020 Player Review

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Justin Holiday 2019-20 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Justin Holiday's 2019-20 season.
Sep 6, 2020  |  00:59

Player Review 2020: Justin Holiday

by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Age: 31
Years Pro: 7
Status: Unrestricted free agent.
Key Stats: Only Pacer to appear in every game this season. Averaged 8.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.2 steals in the regular season. Ranked second on the team and in the top 20 in the NBA with a .405 3-point percentage. Started six games in the regular season and two in the playoffs.

The signing of Justin Holiday was not the most conspicuous move in a busy offseason for the Pacers last summer. His deal wasn't officially announced until July 31, well after Indiana had used a first-round pick on Goga Bitadze, acquired Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren in trades, and signed Jeremy Lamb and T.J. McConnell in free agency.

But the addition of Holiday proved crucial to Indiana's success last season. He brought experience and maturity to the locker room, helped cover for injuries with his positional versatility, and was extremely productive as a two-way player on the Blue & Gold's second unit.

While his younger brothers Jrue and Aaron were first-round picks, Justin Holiday's path to the NBA was less conventional. He went undrafted out of Washington in 2011, spent most of his first two professional seasons in the G League aside from a nine-game stint with Philadelphia in 2013, then played for a year in Hungary before finally latching onto an NBA roster for the 2014-15 season in Golden State.

The eldest Holiday brother often spoke this season of how those experiences fueled his desire to make the most of every opportunity he got in the NBA, something he certainly did in his first season in Indiana.

Holiday was the only member of the Pacers roster to appear in every game last season, playing in all 73 regular season and four postseason contests. He was productive in his time on the floor, averaging 8.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.2 steals in 25 minutes per contest.

PHOTO GALLERY: Justin Holiday's 2019-20 Season in Photos »

The 6-6 wing's ability to play multiple positions allowed head coach Nate McMillan to deploy him as a kind of Swiss Army knife. He primarily played one of the two forward spots during the season (the Pacers' were particularly effective when deploying him as a small-ball four), but also slid over to shooting guard on occasion when injuries piled up in the backcourt. Defensively, Holiday often matched up with the opponent's top scorers regardless of their position, from smaller guards to bigger post players.

One of the Pacers' best lineups last season featured All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis along with four reserves — McConnell and Aaron Holiday in the backcourt with Justin Holiday and Doug McDermott on the wing. That group outscored opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions, pushing the tempo and using Sabonis' screening prowess to free up shooters the Holiday brothers and McDermott for open looks.

Justin Holiday had shot a high volume of 3-pointers over the past few seasons, but he had never converted 36 percent or more of his attempts from 3-point range over a full season. He morphed into an elite 3-point threat with the Pacers, however, posting a .405 3-point percentage while hoisting 331 shots from beyond the arc.

Together with McDermott, who ranked fifth in the NBA in 3-point percentage at .435, he helped form one of the league's best sharpshooting duos. The Pacers were one of just four teams to have two players rank among the top 20 in the league in 3-point percentage last season.

Justin Holiday, Aaron Holiday

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

It was also a meaningful season for Holiday because he got to play alongside his youngest brother. Justin and Jrue were teammates briefly in Philadelphia in 2013, but Justin and Aaron got to spend a full season as teammates, including the unexpected surprise of a nearly two-month stay together in the NBA bubble in Orlando.

Justin is nearly seven and a half years older than Aaron, meaning he was out on his own and missed getting to be there for many of Aaron's games growing up. But he was there for Aaron every step of the way last season, providing mentorship and support.

One of the early-season highlights for the Pacers was a 115-86 win in Brooklyn on Nov. 18. The Pacers were heavily depleted in the backcourt heading into the contest, with Brogdon, Lamb, McConnell, and Victor Oladipo all out due to injury.

The Holiday brothers started together in the backcourt and dominated as Indiana blew out the Nets, combining for 44 points, 10 rebounds, and 15 assists while going a combined 8-for-13 from 3-point range. Justin had 20 points, four boards, two assists, and two steals, but was even prouder afterwards of Aaron, who set career highs in both points (24) and assists (13).

Justin Holiday's mentorship extended beyond his little brother. He also emerged as one of the leaders in the locker room. The oldest player on the roster (he turned 31 in April), Holiday brought maturity and experience to the team and was a voice of steadiness when the Blue & Gold went through a rough stretch.

Holiday also emerged as one of the leading voices not just with the Pacers but across the NBA in the social justice movement, penning a thoughtful essay in The Players' Tribune about his decision to use his platform as an NBA player to advocate for change during the NBA restart in Orlando and delivered by using his voice as an advocate while in the bubble.

Holiday's season concluded with just his second career playoff appearance and while it was short-lived, he played well in Indiana's series with Miami, averaging 7.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 1.5 steals over four games while going 8-for-16 from 3-point range. After Indiana dropped the first two games of the series, McMillan moved the older Holiday into the starting lineup for Games 3 and 4.

While nearly the entire core of the Pacers' roster is under contract for next season, Justin Holiday is a free agent. He is likely to receive interest from several teams after a strong campaign, though Indiana could potentially use its mid-level exception to bring him back for another year. Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard has indicated interest in re-signing Holiday, though some level of uncertainty remains with regard to the salary cap for next season and the start date for free agency due to the COVID-19 pandemic's alteration of the league calendar.

After a successful first season in Indiana, most Pacers fans would certainly welcome Justin Holiday back for a second ride with open arms.

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