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2022-23 Atlanta Hawks Player Season Review: Aaron Holiday

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

When Aaron Holiday signed with the Atlanta Hawks as a free agent this offseason, it formed a family reunion of sorts. The recently traded for Justin Holiday, who also happens to be Aaron’s older brother, Aaron, and then head coach Nate McMillan were all members of the 2019-20 Indiana Pacers. By the end of the season, however, only Aaron remained from that team still in Atlanta. Justin Holiday was traded to the Mavericks at the trade deadline, and McMillan was dismissed as head coach shortly after that.

Throughout the rollercoaster journey of the 2022-23 Hawks season, Aaron Holiday remained a deep but steady point guard option. For the season, Holiday appeared in 63 games, averaging 3.9 points, 1.4 assists, and 1.2 rebounds per contest. The main qualities he brought to Atlanta were his accurate three-point marksmanship (41% shooting from three this season), risk-free facilitating (2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio this year), and his trademark pesky 94-foot defense.

Ultimately, most of his minutes came only in the absence of one of Trae Young or Dejounte Murray, who both shared the title as lead point guard across various periods of every 48+ minute game. Holiday quickly settled into his role as a supplementary ball handler and off-ball shooter, as he often shared the court with either one of the two aforementioned lead guards. As a result, he notched by far his lowest usage rate of his career this season at a tiny 13.4% USG%.

On what he’ll work on this summer, Holiday had to say at exit interviews, “probably everything. Obviously shooting. Getting to the basket. Figuring out how to make plays for myself and others. Just getting better at it.”

About working with Trae Young and Dejounte Murray during the season, Holiday quipped, “man, it was fun. I love those guys. Those are obviously my brothers. My job was just to make them better. Whether that’s pressuring them in full court or going at them on the other end, that’s all I was here to do.”

Still, despite his efficient play, Holiday comes without the ability to scale up past his extremely low maintenance role, making him no more than a valuable end of bench veteran. The Hawks let a ball pressure specialist walk just a season ago in Delon Wright, who headed to the Washington Wizards for a more lucrative offer in free agency. Partially as a consequence, the Hawks’ on-ball defense languished all year long without his services.

While Aaron Holiday isn’t quite the level of player Wright is, he still has some value as a veteran minimum contract-caliber player, which could see him return on a roughly $2 million one-year contract for his services. But if that interest isn’t mutual, Holiday still retains plenty of value to the 29 other teams as a consummate professional as he enters his sixth season in the NBA.