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2018 NBA Draft Profile: UCLA’s Aaron Holiday on the Rise

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Aaron looks to join brothers Jrue and Justin in the NBA.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Four - Dayton Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

To say Aaron Holiday was the motor that drove the UCLA Bruins Men’s Basketball team during the 17-18 campaign would be a gross understatement. The junior point guard averaged 20.3 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game, and 5.8 assists per game (46% fg, 43% 3pt, 83% ft). Holiday also refused to come off the court as he averaged 37.7 minutes played per game this year. Holiday was one of four players in the NCAA to average at least 20 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds last season. As Arron Holiday went this year, the Bruins followed.

Holiday was in solid contention for Pac-12 Player of the Year, and ended up being selected to the All-Pac-12 First Team. In addition, Holiday was also selected to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.

Strengths

Aaron Holiday is one of those players that just knows how to put the ball in the basket. He can score from anywhere on the court and in multiple ways as well. Holiday’s aggressiveness seems to always put defenders at a disadvantage as his ability to pull up from long range or drive to the basket creates problems for defenders.

Shooting, Holiday can drain the rock from the perimeter, and this ability will mostly likely only get better. Holiday currently has NBA 3-point range, and the current state of the NBA puts a lot of stock in guards that can shoot the ball, and Holiday checks that box.

Holiday is one of those players that just seems to have a feel for the game. Holiday knows how to change speeds as he drives to the basket and would often toy with defenders on his hip. Despite Holiday’s size, he definitely can finish at the rim effectively.

Holiday, when engaged, can play high level defense as well. His quickness and wingspan make him a good on the ball defender.

Who better to break down some of the strengths of Holiday’s game than his older brother, New Orleans Pelican point guard, Jrue Holiday.

Weaknesses

As UCLA fans know all too well, the weakness that seems to jump out in regards to Holiday is his penchant to turn the ball over. During his junior year, Holiday averaged almost four turnovers per game. A 5.8 assists/3.8 turnovers ratio must improve. Nothing highlighted this issue with turnovers more than the debacle that was the UCLA play-in game against St. Bonaventure. Holiday had 10 turnovers in this game, and during the last 30 seconds of the game, Holiday turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions, and UCLA went on to lose the game 65-58.

Holiday’s size is another area of concern. According to some, he’s small and light for a point guard, 5’11 without shoes. Long NBA defenders could impact Holiday.

While Holiday played solid defense, I feel his defense can improve. Holiday can sometimes be lazy when fighting through screens and would then give up shots. With Holiday’s lack of size, his ability to close out on shooters needs to improve as well. Granted, playing almost 40 minutes a game could have contributed to some of these issues, but they are areas of focus as he moves to the next level.

Projections

Seeing as the Phoenix Suns have brought Aaron Holiday in two times for workouts, this points strongly to the belief that he’s going at 16. Most mock draft boards have Holiday going in this area. The chatter early in the process was strong that the Los Angeles Lakers would be a good landing spot for Holiday, but it currently looks like the reunion with Lonzo Ball is not going to happen.

The New York Knicks have scheduled a late workout close to the draft, as the Knicks currently hold the 9th pick.

As the media loves to talk about the Ball brothers and the dream that SOME DAY all three of them will be in the NBA. Aaron Holiday is going to make the trifecta for the Holiday clan come to fruition, as Jrue and Justin are already in the NBA. Once Aaron is drafted, the Holiday’s will join the Plumlee and Barry brothers who have also had brother trios in the NBA.

Holiday also looks to add his name to the long list of UCLA Bruins to join the Association. Holiday will be the 16th Bruin in the NBA.