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Former NBA D-League Stud Justin Holiday Impresses Golden State Warriors Early On

In his second NBA Summer League appearance for the Golden State Warriors, Justin Holiday reminded everyone what made him so intriguing during his time in the D-League just two seasons ago.


Too much talent on a roster is never a bad thing. Still, sometimes there are just too many hands in the cookie jar. There simply aren't enough minutes to go around for up to twelve equally skilled players.

En route to their second consecutive NBA D-League Finals appearance, the Santa Cruz Warriors were at a crossroads while finding a rhythm and getting into midseason form. The minor league is a platform where so many talented young guns are anxious and hungry to strut their stuff in valuable playing time.

Realizing the team could not satisfy all of the worthy prospects in town, Santa Cruz opted to deal away a couple of household names. Call it addition by subtraction. But in return, the Warriors were, nevertheless, able to reel in a handful of nice assets for future use.

One of those very assets happened to be the D-League rights to Justin Holiday. The guard is not only the brother of Pelicans' star Jrue, but also a former minor league stud. The young gun averaged 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.4 steals over 47 contests during the 2012-13 campaign for the Idaho Stampede. What's more, he even received a call up from the 76ers towards the end of the season.

The older brother of Jrue played internationally this past year, so Santa Cruz wasn't exactly able to reap the benefits of his talented services during the season. Still, as noted, that wasn't exactly a number priority at the point in time anyway.

But fast-forward to NBA Summer League, and the (Golden State) Warriors are finally taking advantage and getting a first-look at one of the D-League's more talented alumni.

It's unknown whether or not returning to the D-League next season is in Holiday's immediate plans. He'd undoubtedly be a solid player in Santa Cruz, but in the meantime, he's hoping to impress Golden State first.

After struggling in his first Las Vegas appearance earlier in the week, Holiday finally managed to steal the show against the Phoenix Suns on Saturday. Erupting for an offense explosion, the guard poured in 29 points on 9 of 15 shooting from the field. What's more, he sank all nine of his shots from the charity stripe and also ended up hitting the game-winning basket on a put-back layup off a miss from one of his teammates with time running low.

Holiday's impact was still felt in other ways as well. Managing to stuff the stat-sheet, he also grabbed thirteen rebounds and swatted away two blocked shots. He took control, remained confident, and didn't look back.

Following the contest, the up and coming guard received high praise from Golden State head coach (and acting Summer League coach) Steve Kerr. It's clear Holiday has gained even more confidence from his time abroad, so it'll be interesting to watch and find out how else his game in progressed.

More often than not, D-League alums return from time overseas as a much better player, making them all the more prepared to capitalize on a potential NBA opportunity at hand.