When the Chicago Bulls signed Justin Holiday this summer, it was viewed as an ok signing at best. This was a classic move many rebuilding teams make in Free Agency: a veteran who isn’t too old to a low-risk contract (Holiday will make 4.6M this year and slightly lower next year) and hope the signing works out. So far, the Holiday signing has worked out quite impressively.
Through four pre-season games, Holiday has been on a tear. He’s leading Chicago in scoring, averaging 19 points on 44.6% shooting from the field while also grabbing 5.2 rebounds per game. Holiday has also been absolutely scorching from downtown, shooting 48.3% from deep and has showed quite the impressive shooting range. It was on display through several sequences against the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
(2:00-2:10). The sequence is initiated by a missed off the backboard alley-oop from Dwyane Wade to LeBron James. The duo tried to re-create one of their best connections but the ball went right through the hands of James. Chicago quickly got the ball back and took advantage of the Cavaliers players not hustling back on defense (yes, I know it’s pre-season). Paul Zipser quickly took the ball past the halfway line and fired a cross court bounce pass to Jerian Grant. It was not a great pass from the German and it took a while to get to Grant in the corner. This allowed Jae Crowder, who was just getting back on defense, to come over and get in front of him. While this was happening Holiday drifted over next to Grant and was in a prime shooting position with nobody around him. After receiving the swing pass from the point guard, it was an easy jumper from Holiday to hit.
(2:42-2:48) This play happened in the half court but it still showed Holiday’s willingness to shoot three’s when presented the opportunity. Holiday got the ball off a dribble handoff at the three-point line. Immediately after, Robin Lopez went to set a screen on Wade, who was guarding Holiday. Kevin Love, who was guarding Lopez, stayed beneath the three-point line even after Holiday got the screen. By Love not stepping up on the defensive switch, enough space was created for Holiday to rise up and knock down a three-pointer.
Holiday’s impact has been all over the court, not the just from the three-point line. And it should be further emphasized that Holiday is also putting in a great effort defensively, averaging 2 steals a game and oftentimes taking the opponent’s best wing player. You can then add in whatever extra boost of intangibles provided by his veteran presence on this young team.
Even though it’s only the preseason, it’s not exactly a hot take to say the Justin Holiday signing is looking great. He’s been efficient offensively and is able to do the little things which help out any team. Defensively he’s the same way. The rebuild has just begun and has miles to go, getting a guy like Holiday is looking like a good move.