Season in review
Every season, teams with playoff aspirations go dumpster diving into the buyout market after the trade deadline, in hopes that they can turn one team’s trash into another team’s treasure. The Dallas Mavericks, who had a quiet deadline outside of their blockbuster trade for Kyrie Irving, attempted to shore up some of their wing depth by plunging headfirst into the pool of castoffs. At first, it looked like they were going to end up with Terrence Ross; but in a DeAndre Jordan-esque about face, he changed his mind and signed with the hated Phoenix Suns. Nico Harrsion and company then pivoted to Justin Holiday.
Holiday, a 10-year veteran journeyman, was having a miserable season for the Atlanta Hawks, averaging just 4.5 points per game on .384/.345/.000 shooting splits. He had fallen completely out of Atlanta’s rotation and thus, was bought out and free to seek a change of scenery. The hope was that he could sign with a contender and provide good perimeter defense and solid three-point shooting.
And for one game, he did just that for Dallas. After his brilliant debut against the lowly Spurs, Jason Kidd rewarded him by inexplicably starting him over Josh Green against Phoenix the following game. It was a crazy overreaction, as Green had been playing very well as a starter and Holiday was a 34-year-old buyout guy in his second game with the team. But did Justin Holiday reward Kidd’s faith in him and build on his monster first performance? No! He was largely invisible as the Mavericks dropped a heartbreaker to the Suns and began their freefall to the NBA lottery.
I don’t remember a single thing that Justin Holiday did for the rest of the season. I’m sure he hit some shots, made some defensive plays, things of that nature. But I can’t recall any of that. He was on the team. That we can say for sure.
The only possible choice is his first game in Dallas against San Antonio. Holiday scored 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting (5-of-6 from three) and played good defense, endearing himself to the Maverick faithful in a blowout victory.
Perhaps the Holiday pickup was the rare winning lottery ticket on the buyout market. Maybe he would be just what Dallas needed to help stabilize the horrible perimeter defense. Playing with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, Holiday would get a steady diet of wide open threes and he’s capable of hitting those! What a shrewd pickup by the front office! It’s easy to lie to yourself in the moment during a great debut. But Holiday never reached this level again and was largely useless for the rest of the year.
After being bought out by Atlanta, Holiday signed with Dallas for the rest of the season on a one year, $819,832 contract. He is a free agent this offseason.
Holiday is likely nearing the end of his NBA career. He had a good run as the second best basketball player in his family. I would say he didn’t do nearly enough for Dallas to consider re-signing him, but knowing this front office, they could bring him back and praise him for his locker room presence and professionalism. They might even say he has developmental potential.
Holiday didn’t make a difference in his time here. Few buyout players ever do. It was a worthwhile add, because his length and defense were theoretically useful and Holiday had a track record of being a solid three-point shooter. But at the end of the day, his averages of 4.4 points per game on .367/.286/.625 shooting splits were even worse than what he was doing in Atlanta. His defense did not materially affect the Mavericks’ ineptitude in any way. Holiday was a guy on the team for a time, and he’ll no doubt be a tough answer to a Maverick trivia quiz somewhere down the road.