NBA draft profile: UCLA PG Aaron Holiday

USA Today Images

NBA draft profile: UCLA PG Aaron Holiday

Aaron Holiday

Position: Guard

Height: 6-0

Weight: 187

School: UCLA

Sixers fans should recognize the name. Aaron Holiday is the brother of former Sixers first-round pick Jrue Holiday and Bulls wing Justin Holiday. Aaron is the youngest — and smallest — of the three. 

A three-year player at UCLA, Holiday developed into one of the most prodigious scorers and shooters in Bruins history. He was the first UCLA player to lead the Pac 12 in scoring (20.3 points per game) since some guy named Reggie Miller. For his efforts, he was named to the All-Pac 12 first team.

For his college career, Holiday averaged 14.3 points and 4.7 assists per contest in 101 games (65 starts). He also hit 180 treys, shooting 42 percent from three.

Holiday’s most obvious and translatable NBA attribute is his jump shot. He shot over 40 percent in all three of his seasons at UCLA and is capable off the dribble, off screens and in catch-and-shoot opportunities. He also has NBA range and is not afraid to pull up from any spot on the floor.

For his size, he’s a good, creative finisher and features a pretty nice floater. He understands how to attack defenses, especially in the pick and roll. He’s excellent at changing his pace and lulling defenders to sleep. He’s a good and willing passer. Defensively he has excellent instincts. He’s aggressive and does well at getting his hands in passing lanes.

Size is a huge issue for Holiday. The other big issue is, he’s just an OK athlete that lacks quickness and explosion while driving to the basket. Defense is always going to be an issue as he’ll struggle to guard some of the bigger and more explosive point guards in the league. He also struggled with turnovers.

NBA comparison
Aaron Brooks, most recently of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both players make up for their size with excellent perimeter shooting. Brooks was more explosive coming out of Oregon, but also has a good change of pace to confuse opponents. Holiday has better feel and vision. Brooks has struggled defensively at the NBA level and Holiday will likely encounter the same issues.

How he'd fit with Sixers
It’s tough to project Holiday to the Sixers. His shooting would play well here and playing with a 6-foot-10 point guard would certainly help his cause, but where would he fit? He won’t be a starter right away and the Sixers already feature T.J. McConnell off the bench. McConnell provides energy and top-notch defense that Holiday cannot.

Draft projection
The modern NBA is all about the three so teams will be interested in Holiday as a backup point guard and shooter off the bench. He could go anywhere from the late teens to the mid-20s.

More on the Sixers and the NBA draft

Sixers vs. Jazz: Live stream, storylines, game time, more for Jimmy Butler's home debut

Sixers vs. Jazz: Live stream, storylines, game time, more for Jimmy Butler's home debut

Here he comes, Philadelphia.

Jimmy Butler makes his home debut for the Sixers Friday night vs. the Utah Jazz.

Here’s a closer look at the matchup.

• Butler had a quiet but solid debut for the Sixers. He finished the game with 14 points (6 of 12 shooting) and showed a little of his elite defensive ability.

The end result was obviously not what the team or Butler wanted, but you did see signs that this thing could work (see story). The two-man game with Butler and Joel Embiid looked intriguing (see film review). Also, the starting five of Butler, Embiid, Ben Simmons, JJ Redick and Wilson Chandler moved the ball extremely well at times.

• I’m especially intrigued by Chandler after his performance in Orlando. He showed the first signs of life for any Sixer after that horrid 21-0 Magic run and helped get the team back on top briefly. 

He finished with a season-high 14 points in 23 minutes. More importantly, it was the most spry the 31-year-old has looked since returning to the lineup from a hamstring strain. Chandler didn’t close out that game as Brett Brown still monitors his minutes. Hopefully Chandler will be let loose soon.

• There is a little concern over Simmons and Embiid fitting with Butler. The second-year point guard was very quiet in the loss Wednesday (nine points, six assists, three rebounds). You can blame some of that on Butler’s first game but he was pretty quiet in Miami as well (13 points, seven rebounds, seven assists). Embiid recorded his first triple-double, but was just 1 of 10 in the second half vs. the Magic. He also spent a great deal of time outside of the post.

The worry when the Sixers acquired Butler was about his fit, since most of his points come from inside the arc. It’s Brown’s task to try to make the pieces fit and get Simmons and Embiid going.

• The building will be electric for Butler’s debut but expect a hungry Jazz team to come out Friday night. Utah was embarrassed by the Mavericks in Dallas Wednesday, losing by 50(!) points, 118-68. The Jazz scored just 22 points in the second half. With that taste in their mouth, expect Donovan Mitchell and company to come out with their hair on fire.

• It’s been a bit of a struggle recently for Mitchell, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury of his own. The runner-up for last season’s Rookie of the Year has shot just 37 percent from the field and 26 percent from three over his last six games. In addition to the loss vs. the Mavericks, expect Mitchell to have a little extra motivation to spoil the evening for Simmons and company.

Here are the essentials for Butler’s debut.

When: 7 p.m. EST 
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia (Pregame Live starts at 6:30 p.m. EST)
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams by NBC Sports app

Jonah Bolden, F, 6-10, 220, No. 43 
Jimmy Butler, F, 6-8, 236, No. 23 
Wilson Chandler, F, 6-9/225, No. 22 
Joel Embiid, C, 7-0/260, No. 21 
Markelle Fultz, G, 6-4/200, No. 20 
* Demetrius Jackson, G, 6-1/200, No. 11 
Amir Johnson, F/C, 6-9/240, No. 5 
Furkan Korkmaz, G/F, 6-7/185, No. 30 
T.J. McConnell, G, 6-2/190, No. 12 
* Shake Milton, G, 6-6/205, No. 18 
Mike Muscala, F/C, 6-11/240, No. 31 
JJ Redick, G 6-4/195, No. 17 13
Landry Shamet, G, 6-5/190, No. 23
Ben Simmons, G/F, 6-10/230, No. 25 
Zhaire Smith, G, 6-4/200, No. 8
Justin Patton, C, 6-11/229, No. 0

* Two-way player

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Sixers vs. Jazz: 3 storylines to watch in Jimmy Butler's home debut

AP Images

Sixers vs. Jazz: 3 storylines to watch in Jimmy Butler's home debut

Jimmy Butler will don a Sixers uniform for the first time at Wells Fargo Center tonight, in front of his new home crowd against the Utah Jazz. The playbook will still be limited for Butler, but we’re looking forward to his second game alongside his new teammates. Here are three storylines to watch out for.
Jimmy, Jo-Jo Connection
 There’s already some chemistry developing between Joel Embiid and Butler. After their first shootaround, Brett Brown said they were both going out of their way to create for each other, and a few minutes into their first game together, Embiid found Butler cutting back door.
Adding an additional two-man game (like the one Embiid already has with JJ Redick), could take this team to another level.
Blown leads/turnovers In crunch time
 The Sixers said goodbye to a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter, after the Magic went on a 21-0 run. On top of that, the Sixers committed three crucial turnovers within two minutes at the end of the fourth that could’ve cost them the game. (They also gave up 13 points in the fourth off their six turnovers.)
If you follow the Sixers, you’ve noticed that both giving up leads in the second half and late-game turnovers are becoming quite the trend. Will they buck the trend tonight?
Ben Simmons vs. Dante Exum
Dante Exum and Ben Simmons will be facing each other for the first time in the NBA, after growing up together in Australia. Friends since they met when they were eight years old; tonight should be a much anticipated moment for the both of them. Exum doesn’t start for Utah so their actual time on the court together will likely be limited, but it’ll still be fun to watch two childhood friends — who once teamed up to win a silver medal with Team Australia’s FIBA Under-17 team — go at it.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers