AARON HOLIDAY

BIRTHDATE: 3/30/96

POSITION: Point Guard

HEIGHT: 6'1"

WEIGHT: 185 lbs

SCHOOL/ TEAM: UCLA

CLASS: Junior

STRENGTHS

Shooting ability - Accurate shooter especially off the catch,Lethal when left open in spot up situations

Pull up Jumper - Able to stop on a dime and get his pull up off; Likes to pull up for transition 3s when he's on the wing with average success

Attacking the rim -Aggressive looking to get into the paint vs closeouts and when curling off screens/handoffs

Attacking Closeouts - Capable of attacking closeouts and scoring from all levels

Finishing in traffic - Good finisher at the rim with both hands in the halfcourt; Has a pretty good floater package to offset his size

Quickness - Uses his first step to get by defenders, shifts gears to keeps defenders off balance

Length - Has long arms to help compensate for his lack of height 

Ball handling - Solid ballhandler who uses his first step to get by defenders

Pick & Roll - Excellent shooting or attacking from off ball screens, Capable of finding the roll man when coming off screens, 

Defense - Contests shooters consistently and can breakdown/shift to on ball defense when he forces a shooter to put it on floor

Defensive Effort - When he gets beat, he stays on the ballhandlers hip and follows the play; fights hard through off ball screens

WEAKNESSES

Size - Has difficulty finding passing lanes once inside the defense, Struggles along the baseline; Has trouble finding the pass out to the perimeter

Strength - Bigger, stronger guards shoot over him and use their strength to get to their spot inside the arc

Shot Selection - Many of his attempts are difficult shots inside the arc which will only get harder at the next level; 

Turnovers - Forces passes that aren't there; Turnover prone when leading the break; Misreads teammates or doesn't put the pass on target

 IQ/Craft - Doesn't set his man up to hit screens cleanly, Takes poor angles coming off PNR screens which eliminate the space he needs to pull up 

Doesn't create much separation with his handle

KHAIRI AKILI  - SEPTEMBER 24, 2017

While UCLA freshman sensations Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf  grabbed all the headlines, sharp shooting Aaron Holiday quietly had a strong statistical season and was  arguably the nations best sixth man. Holiday averaged 12.3 points, 4.4 assists and 2.9 rebounds as Ball’s backup at point guard and mostly improved his numbers from his freshman season despite playing nearly 5 less minutes per game. This season Holiday will likely have to share backcourt duties again with another highly touted freshman. Highly touted McDonald's All-American point guard Jaylen Hands is expected to play a significant role in Westwood this season. 

There were rumors Holiday considered making the jump to join his brothers, Jrue and Justin, in the NBA this summer, but decided to return to school. One has to wonder if his play towards the end of the season had an impact on his decision to return after struggling in Pac-12 and NCAA tournament games. Holiday failed to crack double figures or shoot efficiently in 4 of the 5 post season games, shooting a combined 5 for 19 vs rivals USC and Arizona in the conference tournament. 

Despite his late season struggles, Holiday was a major player in UCLA's 31 win season where they finished ranked in the top 10. He accepted his role coming off the bench and was successful playing on and off the ball in UCLA's fast breaking offense.

Holiday excels is as a shooter where he has posted back to back seasons of shooting over 40% from behind the arc. His shooting ability allows him to attack closeouts where he's good at slashing to the rim, finishing with both hands and shows a feathery touch on his floaters. He possesses a quick first step and is good at using his body to shield off defenders or create space to get to his sweet spots. Holiday is also an advanced ball handler that can create his own shot off the dribble or create for others with his good passing instincts.

 

Going into his junior season, I would like to see Holiday improve his numbers in transition where he seemed to settle for a lot of 3 pointers instead of attacking the rim. I'm not exactly sure if its the shot he's settling for or if that's part of UCLA's transition offense. I'd also like to see him used more in ball screens but I think that is unlikely considering only 10% of Lonzo Ball's possessions were as the pick & roll ball handler last season.

Overall, I think Holiday is in line for a big season for UCLA. I believe his numbers will increase to around 18 points per game and 6 assists where his play will earn him a spot in the NBA fraternity where his two older brothers will welcome him with open arms.

SUMMARY

Here is a breakdown of Holiday's possessions over the 2016-17 season

KHAIRI'S NOTES

OFFENSE

 

Small guard with pretty good strength for his size 

Has long arms to help compensate for his lack of height 

Good but not great athlete

Quick and shifts gears to keeps defenders off balance

Solid ballhandler who uses his first step to get by defenders

Good finisher in the paint in transition but isn't aggressive seeking out the basket as he is in the halfcourt

Likes to pull up for transition 3s when he's on the wing with average success for his caliber of shooter

Turnover prone when leading the break, misreads where his teammates are going or doesn't put the pass on target

Good finisher at the rim with both hands in the halfcourt 

Finishes in traffic

Has a pretty good floater package to offset his size

Good form on his shot, compact shooting motion and good lift

Lethal when left open in spot up situations

A bit streaky with his spot up 3 ball, will go long stretches of hot shooting then long cold periods

Capable of attacking closeouts and scoring from all levels

Able to stop on a dime and get his pull up off without sacrificing his form or fading too much 

Excellent shooting or attacking from off ball screens

Very good in iso at the top of the floor, can go either way effectively

Likes to get into the paint as opposed to pulling up

Struggles in side isolations, particularly when going baseline where his lack of size is exposed 

Doesn't set his man up to hit screen cleanly or take hard angles coming off the screen to collapse the defense

This leads to little separation for him and bothers his pull up jumper off screens

Likes to run PNR on the left side or the top where he can go to his dominant hand and get into the paint for runners/layups

Capable of finding the roll man when coming off screens but has difficulty finding passing lanes at times because of his size

Will force passes that aren't there

Has trouble finding the pass out to the perimeter once he's inside the defense

 

DEFENSE

 

Moves his feet and uses his length well to help compensate for his size

Bigger, stronger guards can still take advantage  of him

Beats his man to the spot and tries to redirect him 

When he gets beat, he stays on the ballhandlers hip and follows the play

Contests the pull up consistently but bigger players can shoot over him 

Establishes good help positioning and closes out quickly on spot up shooters

Able shift from closeout to on ball defense smoothly

Fights hard through off ball screens 

Doesn't always stay connected to his man but closes the gap quickly

Tends to get hung up on screens despite making an effort to get through them

Does a better job getting around screens the more ball pressure he applies

Generally recovers well after hitting the screen and doesn't give up on the play