Most of the excitement of the NBA Summer League comes from fans being able to watch their newly drafted rookies compete (somewhat) at the NBA level for the first time. With no picks in the loaded 2014 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors don’t have such a rookie for fans to frantically overanalyze and obsess over. But with Justin Holiday, the Dubs certainly have a lot to be excited about.
Holiday, brother of New Orleans Pelicans starting point guard Jrue Holiday, didn’t get off to the hottest start at Summer League. In the Dubs’ first game against the Charlotte Hornets, Holiday put up just two points and four rebounds in 18 minutes while going 1-for-6 from the floor. But after that shaky start, he turned into an absolute scoring machine.
Against the Phoenix Suns the following night, Holiday dropped 29 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks in 32 minutes while going 9-of-15 from the floor and 2-for-5 from downtown. Against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, an overtime loss on a last-second tip-in that broke Golden State’s 16-game Summer League winning streak, Holiday carried the Warriors with 26 points, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He also shot 9-for-18 from the floor and 4-for-8 from downtown.
Holiday has been clutch for the Warriors in each of their last two games. Against the Suns, he hit the game-winning shot after grabbing a hustle rebound on the offensive end. He also scored the go-ahead basket against the Lakers, giving his team a one-point lead with 6.1 seconds remaining in overtime that they couldn’t protect. Between his pure jump shot, tough drives to the basket, getting out in transition and getting to the foul line, Justin Holiday has displayed the complete package.
Of course, he did. Justin Holiday hits a jumper for an 88-87 lead with 4.9 seconds left. Lacob and Guber are cheering like it’s a title game
— Rusty Simmons (@Rusty_SFChron) July 15, 2014
With 6’6″ frame and a 7’0″ wingspan, Holiday has the size and length to compete with anyone. After what we’ve seen in the last two games, he clearly has the talent and the confidence on both ends of the floor. He works hard, he can knock down open and contested looks and he knows how to attack the basket.
The Warriors’ roster currently stands at 15, but Jordan Crawford is most likely on his way out as a free agent and the Dubs could be shipping multiple players as part of a Kevin Love trade if they change their mind about Klay Thompson. In other words, if Justin Holiday can continue to impress head coach Steve Kerr during Summer League, a real NBA opportunity may finally be there for him.
In college at Washington, Holiday played with Isaiah Thomas and averaged 10.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game but he went undrafted in the 2011 NBA Draft. He spent the 2011-12 season playing in Belgium before joining the Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League team that summer. In the course of four weeks that October, he was signed by the Cavs, waived by the Cavs, signed by the Portland Trail Blazers and waived by the Blazers.
Over the next year, he was signed and waived by both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Utah Jazz. For the 2013-14 season, Holiday played in Hungary. After that, his returning player rights were traded to the Santa Cruz Warriors, and now, finally, Holiday is making an impact on the Golden State Warriors Summer League team. Only time will tell if it leads to something more substantial, but Holiday is certainly making it hard to say no.