The Atlanta Hawks backcourt will look a bit different heading into the new season. Kevin Huerter was traded to the Sacramento Kings, Delon Wright signed with the Washington Wizards, Lou Williams is possibly headed for retirement, and Skylar Mays and Sharife Cooper are free agents.
To replace those players, the Hawks added Dejounte Murray via trade, and drafted AJ Griffin and Tyrese Martin. With the Hawks not trying to spend much on a backup guard, they signed Aaron Holiday to a one-year deal for the minimum.
Holiday played for the Wizards and Phoenix Suns last season, where he didn't see many minutes, but stepped in when Chris Paul went down with a hand injury for a few weeks late in the season. Holiday was serviceable in those games, as the Suns were able to stay afloat without their star guard,
Where things get familiar with Holiday and the Hawks starts with his ties with coach Nate McMillan. Holiday played his first two seasons in the league under McMillan when he was the coach for the Indiana Pacers. Holiday will also be playing with his brother Justin Holiday, who was traded to the Hawks in Kevin Huerter deal.
A good thing for Holiday is that he played the best basketball in his career so far under McMillan. In 2019, Holiday posted career highs in minutes, points, and three-point field goal percentage. With his familiarity in McMillan’s system, Holiday may be a plus when he’s on the court. Holiday is considered a 3-and-D guard, something the Hawks will love to have on their roster at that position.
With Holiday being an average three-point shooter, getting shots like these should come easy for him on offense. In this clip, Holiday is able to use the screen to his advantage to knock down a clean look.
Here’s another look at Holiday getting creative to get an open shot. In this play, he draws a bigger defender, which means it's time to go to work. Holiday hits Isaiah Hartenstein with a quick move, then goes into the step-back three. The rim wasn't very nice to him at first, but the ball was able to fall in right after.
The Hawks were in good hands last year when Wright came off the bench due to his point-of-attack defense. With Wright gone, Murray and Holiday will have to take on that role. It’s no surprise that Aaron is an exceptional defender; just look at what his other two brothers are known for.
This clip doesn't show much, but you can see the awareness and instincts of Holiday while he’s guarding the ball.
What Holiday brings to the court will be beneficial for the Hawks, especially as insurance for Young or Murray. If both of them are healthy, don’t expect to see Holiday on the court as much. It’s expected by many that either Young or Murray will be on the court nearly at all times, which solves the point guard position for the second unit. In the event that Holiday does play regularly, know that he could play alongside either player since he can be a plus on both sides of the ball.
This was a good, lowkey move for the Hawks in free agency when looking at the short list of options they had to choose from. Let's see what Holiday is able to contribute to the team during the season.