By the numbers:
44 games (39 starts) with Memphis Grizzlies: 9.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 38.9 FG%, 33.3 3PT%, 8.9 PER.
SEASON IN REVIEW:
Justin Holiday came to Memphis in a deal that sent Wayne Selden Jr., MarShon Brooks, and two second-round picks — including this year’s second-rounder — to Chicago. The price was pretty steep for a role player, but the Grizzlies front office thought Holiday was a piece that could revive the team’s playoff hopes.
Narrator: It didn’t.
Pairing Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, and Jaren Jackson Jr. with a wing quartet of Kyle Anderson, Dillon Brooks, Garrett Temple, and Justin Holiday looks good on paper. However, it didn’t come together at all, which could be a product of J.B. Bickerstaff’s schemes and rotations. Not to mention, injuries to Anderson and Brooks hurt the Grizzlies’ depth.
Holiday’s campaign in Memphis was quite disappointing, relative to the trade package that brought him there. His 3-point shooting was sub-par, and he wasn’t really used properly. Coming into Memphis, he was one of the most lethal 3-point shooter from the corners that launched with great volume — 68.5% of his shot attempts were 3’s in Chicago. In Memphis, only half of his shots were from 3-point range, and he was asked to create off the dribble far too much.
With better usage, and a healthy squad, Holiday could’ve been an impactful player in Memphis. He doesn’t really need the ball to be effective offensively, as he’s a deft shooter and cutter. In addition, he would’ve been great in the Grizzlies’ defensive scheme with his knack of generating steals.
Simply put, Justin Holiday was supposed to resemble a missing piece for a playoff push. Even though it’s easy to buy second-round picks on draft night, it was a short-sighted move that robbed them from a chance at adding talent in the second-round.
Justin Holiday will enter the open market this summer, and it’s going to be interesting to see where he goes.
He’s getting up there in age, approaching 30 years old, so a ring-chasing destination is pretty likely. There are plenty of contenders looking for perimeter depth this summer, and I’d like his fit as a fringe rotation player on Boston, Golden State, Philadelphia, or Toronto. However, I’d love for him to reunite with one of his brothers — Jrue or Aaron — to close out his career. New Orleans is probably out of question, as they might enter a rebuild. However, in Indiana, he could easily fill in as a potential 10-11th man off the bench on a playoff-bound team.
Though his stint with Memphis was disappointing, Holiday possesses that elusive 3-and-D skill set that is highly-coveted around the league. He’s one of the most prolific corner-3 shooters in basketball, and he has a knack of corralling steals. Some team — whether it’s a contender or not — will covet him for cheap production off the bench.
Justin Holiday probably won’t be back in Memphis this summer, unless the front office values his veteran presence. It’s honestly a shame to see, too, given the price it took to get him. It’s just another representation of the Grizzlies sacrificing long-term flexibility for a short-sighted goal.
Stats found on basketball-reference.