When Aaron Holiday was trying to determine his draft stock, he had some trustworthy NBA sources at his disposal. Surely league veterans Jrue and Justin could find out what teams really think about their little brother’s NBA prospects.
Aaron decided to declare for the draft and hire an agent after three seasons at UCLA, but he said his brothers have been mostly hands-off during his pre-draft process.
“They just pretty much let me fend for myself, so to speak,” he said after the Hawks’ pre-draft workout Friday. “They are great leaders and they know I’m going to get to where they are pretty soon so right now they are just letting me have fun with it.”
Aaron Holiday was a fantastic combo guard for the Bruins last season. He didn’t grow to be as as tall his brothers: Aaron measured a shade under 6-foot-1 at the combine last week, compared with 6-4 for Jrue in 2009 and 6-6 for Justin in 2011.
Holiday is similar in stature to Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder, who measured 6-2 with a 6-7.75 wingspan at the 2013 combine. Schroder was a great defensive prospect, while Holiday is much more advanced on offense. However, Holiday will turns 22 years old in September, whereas Schroder was 19 when he was drafted.
Aaron’s relative lack of size means he may not be as versatile in the NBA as he was at UCLA. He improved drastically from his sophomore to his junior season but his age means there may not be much more development for him to do. But Holiday has a long wingspan (6-foot-7.5) and pretty much everything about his game suggests he has a promising future in the NBA despite his smaller stature.
Last season at UCLA Aaron Holiday was a high-usage and efficient scorer who produced 21.6 points per 40 minutes. He scored efficiently at all three levels and was fouled often while making 83 percent of his 192 free throws. Holiday is a good defender with superlative lateral quickness and a competitive streak.
The question is whether Holiday can be as effective against bigger opponents in the NBA. He’s not a great leaper so finishing will be tougher. Holiday can play effectively off the ball, but it would be difficult to log many minutes at shooting guard.
Holiday said he watches smaller NBA guards Chris Paul, Kemba Walker and Damian Lillard and sees how they are effective by getting into the paint and create good scoring chances for themselves and teammates. But he said being effective at the other end is how smaller guards make it in the league.
“Playing defense, first and foremost,” he said. “I’m a scorer, so being able to get to the basket and get people involved and using my skill level to run the team. Moving the ball around, as well, making sure everyone is in the right place.”
Draft projections have Holiday being selected mid-to-late first round. The Hawks own the 19th and 30th picks.