Justin Holiday Now a Part of Hawks’ Rotation


The Atlanta Hawks signed Justin Holiday this offseason to a multi-year deal after the young swingman won a championship as a part of the Golden State Warriors last season.

Justin Holiday, the brother of the New Orleans Pelicans’ starting point guard, Jrue Holiday, did not play much through the first three games of the season. However, in the Atlanta Hawks’ last four games, Justin Holiday has seen his minutes increase significantly. Justin Holiday is now averaging 4.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game. Given the fact that Tim Hardaway Jr. was acquired at a significant cost to the Atlanta Hawks this offseason, and the good play from Lamar Patterson early in the season, why is Justin Holiday now seeing more minutes than his other wing reserves?

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At 26, Justin Holiday still has a very high ceiling in the NBA, and the Atlanta Hawks believe that they can develop him to become an important piece on their team. He possesses excellent length and athleticism; but Head Coach Mike Budenholzer is most likely utilizing Holiday more now than Patterson and Hardaway because of his defensive ability.

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Following the departure of DeMarre Carroll, the organization made it a point this offseason to gain depth at the wing in order to counteract the loss of their venerable small forward. In the wake of Thabo Sefolosha‘s ongoing recovering, and Kyle Korver‘s return from offseason surgery, Kent Bazemore is now starting at the small forward position for the team. Bazemore’s defense has helped propel the Atlanta Hawks to six consecutive victories. When Bazemore heads to the bench, the Atlanta Hawks are going with the best defensive option to take his place. Right now, that is Justin Holiday.

With Thabo Sefolosha still not at 100 percent, Justin Holiday’s contributions defensively are incredibly important for an Atlanta Hawks team asserting themselves as one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Though Lamar Patterson did play well in the first three games, his play time has steadily dropped off, probably due to his inexperience. Tim Hardaway Jr. has yet to appear in game, most likely because of his defensive deficiencies. That leaves Justin Holiday, who possesses the experience (albeit limited) and the defensive ability to ensure that a significant drop off won’t occur when Bazemore or Korver heads to the bench.

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The acquisition of Justin Holiday this offseason could represent another steal on the part of the Atlanta Hawks, who signed Holiday to an affordable and team friendly contract. Very similar to the signing of DeMarre Carroll two-and-a-half years ago, Justin Holiday could thrive as a member of the Atlanta Hawks in a similar way that Carroll and now Kent Bazemore have done.

If Kent Bazemore should bolt in free agency this offseason, Justin Holiday could very well step into his role as the future starting small forward for the Atlanta Hawks. The front-office is aware of Kent Bazemore’s status, and saw how DeMarre Carroll’s value sky-rocketed this offseason. This year represents a test-run for Holiday, so the coaching staff and front-office can evaluate his ability and try to develop him to become the Atlanta Hawks future starter.

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Whatever the future may hold for the Atlanta Hawks and Justin Holiday, there is no doubting the impact he has made on the team thus far this season. Though it’s difficult to truly quantify his value, there are few things more important than depth in the NBA, as teams like the San Antonio Spurs have taught us. It’s great to see another young player getting a chance to thrive in the Atlanta Hawks system. Justin Holiday will continue to develop and to grow into an important role player for the Hawks this season.