After the 2015-16 season, the New York Knicks made it a priority to upgrade the point guard position and worked out a deal with the Chicago Bulls to bolster that spot.
The Knicks and the Bulls agreed to a blockbuster trade this past offseason involving Derrick Rose. New York sent Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant to the Windy City. To complete the deal, Chicago threw in a second round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and guard Justin Holiday.
Little did anyone know that Holiday would end up being the steal of the Derrick Rose trade.
Holiday is a 6-6, 185-pound perimeter player. His frame provides him the ability to play either the shooting guard or small forward position depending on match-ups.
The former University of Washington Huskie is playing in the final year of his current contract. This has always inspired players to up their game in hopes of achieving a big payday.
Holiday got off to a rough start this preseason. That can be attributed to being on a new team running a new and complex offense. In six preseason games, he averaged 7.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 15.4 minutes per game. He also struggled from behind the three-point arc, knocking down just 32.7 percent of his attempts.
However, he began to find his shooting touch once the regular season started. Through 13 games, he is shooting 41.9 percent from long distance. The former NBA champion is averaging 6.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 18.4 minutes per game. Those numbers are all good enough to be career highs, outside of the assists.
As good as his offense has been, his defense and hustle have been even more important. An example of this took place on Monday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
Harrison Barnes scored 16 points in the first half. New York made an adjustment and went with a small lineup which matched him up with Barnes. As a result, the small forward scored only four points the rest of the contest. Holiday finished that game with a +/- rating of +30 and a season-high 16 points.
Yes, Rose was the star of the off season trade, but does he still have what it takes to be super? Lopez is a solid veteran, but how will he fit in Chicago? Grant is a young player who has possible upside, but can he find minutes off of the Bulls bench?
There is one question that will not need to be asked. Who is the steal of the Derrick Rose off season trade? The answer is Justin Holiday.