Aaron Holiday performed admirably for a rookie getting his first real minutes for the Indiana Pacers, but now that Victor Oladipo has returned to the starting lineup Holiday goes back to waiting for his turn.
Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said he spoke with Holiday about the trickle down effect that Oladipo’s return to the starting lineup will have on his minutes.
“He did his job, now he goes back to his role,” McMillan said. “Victor’s back and we go back to our rotation.”
Even with Oladipo on a minutes restriction, Holiday played zero minutes in the win against the Milwaukee Bucks last night.
Holiday averaged 8 points in the last 12 in 16 minutes per game. While his 3-point shooting went cold after an initial hot start (down to 27% for the season), he still shot 42.9% from the field during this stretch and added 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Not bad at all for a rookie in his first opportunity and even with his shot not falling he never hesitated when open.
The Pacers have to be pleased with how the rookie performed. He immediately showed that he’s an NBA player as soon as he started playing and should be a contributor in the league for a long time.
Brian Windhorst reported that League Executives believe the Pacers are high on their rookie point guard and may look to trade one of their veterans on expiring deals in Cory Joseph and Darren Collison in order to find playing time for Holiday.
The key words here are may and believe. This is only speculation from people around the league on something that could make sense for the Pacers if they choose to do so. There is no sign that this is actually happening at the moment but other teams think it would make sense if it did.
It’d be a little surprising if the Pacers traded either with how well the team is playing right now and Collison finding his rhythm after struggling to start the season. Not to mention Cory Joseph quietly being one of the team’s most important players and pieces to the league’s 3rd-best defense.
Holiday looked good but he may not be ready to be a full-time backup point guard for a team with high playoff aspirations just yet. He mostly played off the ball on offense with either steady veteran sharing the court with him still initiating the offense. He makes mistakes that rookie point guards tend to make and isn’t quite ready to be the full-time primary ball handler.
But he also responds to those mistakes exactly how you would want to see someone respond. Take this play for example. After he turns the ball over and seems to sure to give up a fastbreak layup, Holiday hustles back into the play and gets the chasedown block.
He’s shown a penchant for some “wow” plays on the defensive end and has finished very well in traffic in his rookie season. His confidence is evident every time he gets the ball in his hands.
While we may not see much of Holiday for awhile in the near future, we can expect to see a whole lot of him in the coming years.