FanPost

Under the Radar Point Guard Option for the New York Knicks

Aaron Holiday

The youngest of the Holiday brothers was often linked to the Knicks prior to the 2018 draft for his aggressive offensive play and solid defensive motor and capabilities. Currently a backup point guard for the Indiana Pacers, Holiday earned a larger role during the 2019-2020 season with the team despite their offseason additions of Jeremy Lamb, Tj Warren, Malcom Brogdon, and T.J. McConnell. He was able to up his minutes per game from 12.9 in his rookie season to 23.6 this past season with improved three-point efficiency (39.4%) on higher volume (3.5 attempts per game) and finishing the season at 86% from the free throw line. Holiday’s improved shooting coupled with solid defense allowed him to become a fixture in the rotation. Holiday has proven to be a net positive player in his first two seasons.

His on/off splits show that in increased minutes and larger role, the Pacers were 3.3 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court this past season. The Pacers are an all-around good team, so it is no surprise that they were still a net positive without him on the court though. With that said, Holiday still is an impactful player on both ends of the court and has proven that when given the opportunity to play. In a road win at the Brooklyn Nets on November 18th 2019, Holiday led his team (that was missing Victor Oladipo and Malcom Brogdon) with 24 points and a career high 13 assists. He is not a real flashy player, but he makes the right reads and plays within himself.

Position Estimate

+/- Per 100 Poss.

Season

Age

Tm

Lg

Pos

G

MP

PG%

SG%

OnCourt

On-Off

2018-19

22

IND

NBA

PG

50

646

99%

1%

+7.6

+5.1

2019-20

23

IND

NBA

PG

58

1368

100%

+3.3

+1.8

Career

NBA

108

2014

100%

+4.7

+2

Per Basketball Reference

Diving deeper into the shooting numbers will also help to project what Holiday can provide for the Knicks. For the 2019-2020 season Holiday shot 45.5% on corner 3s, 38.5% on above the break 3s and 42.4% on catch and shoot 3s (per stats.nba.com). These are all fantastic numbers from a guard who could provide a scoring punch off the bench and would be welcome in an offense lacking any capable shooting from the point guard position.

If the Knicks were able to swing a trade for Holiday, he could provide immediate value as a backup point guard for the team. The Pacers have to send their 2020 First Rounder projected to go 19th overall to Milwaukee this draft and aren’t projected to make a selection until around pick number 50 in the second round. The Pacers currently have four point guards on the roster, if you include Victor Oladipo who had recently came back from injury before the season was halted, so a path to more playing time once the team is fully healthy will be hard to come by. Oladipo and Brogdon are going to be mainstays in the lineup, so Holiday’s role with the organization is not likely to change much beyond what it currently is barring any more injuries. If the Pacers were able to find a guy they liked in the early second round (let’s say Killian Tillie or Patrick Williams), that they thought could help fill the teams more immediate needs, then they may find value in swapping Aaron Holiday for our 2020 2nd round pick from Charlotte.

In this particular scenario, Holiday would become the Knicks lead guard for the bench unit, providing solid shooting and defense along the way. Understand the Knicks will be prioritizing the development of whichever point they end up drafting with their top pick in the draft lottery, but that wouldn’t stop me from looking to add Holiday to the mix as backup. His addition would certainly spell the end of Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr, but would hopefully help usher in the future, allowing the Knicks to develop a true modern-day NBA offense. Holiday could easily play beside Frank Ntilikina as both could share playmaking duties, and I would look forward to seeing a trio of Holiday, Ntilikina, and Dameyean Dotson coming off the bench for the Knicks. The Knicks have the resources and cap flexibility to get creative with their off season additions. Depending on the route that Leon Rose and newly hired co. want to take, I would certainly have Holiday on my radar as a player who could come in and immediately provide a positive impact to the team for the foreseeable future.

*Honorable Mentions: Jalen Brunson, Monte Morris