I think it’s fair to say that Tyrese Haliburton’s rise has been somewhat meteoric.
Besides being ranked 172nd in the 2018 high school class, the six-foot-five lead guard also had a fairly quiet first year at Iowa State last season – averaging just 8.2 points per 40 minutes on a staggeringly low 9.1% usage rate, though while posting 66.6% true shooting and turning the ball over just 28 times in 35 appearances.
Haliburton then made the Team USA sent to Crete, Greece to compete at the U19 World Cup last summer and exceled as one of the top shot creators on the team, earning All-Tournament honors at the end.
His percentages were as efficient against that level of competition as they were in his first year of collegiate basketball, with the 19-year-old leading the tournament in offensive rating and effective field goal percentage while turning the ball over just eight times in 174 minutes.
Back to Iowa State for his second year, Haliburton was expected to take on a more prominent role within the offense as a sophomore and that has turned out to be the case so far, though it’s also fair to point out that his average of 17.2 points per 40 minutes on 13.2 field goal attempts per 40 minutes and his 20.9% usage rate are still short of what is usually associated with a guard projected to end up a top 10 pick, as he is currently ranked fifth on ESPN’s top 100, at the time of writing.
Maybe his rise to stardom says more about the general perception of a lack of superstar potential in this class or maybe the NBA is starting to adjust its view on what types of players it is looking for in the draft. If Haliburton does end up getting drafted ahead of guys like Cole Anthony and Tyrese Maxey, which are more in line with the types of lead guards the league has most often sought at the top of the order in the recent past, it might signal a potential shift in priorities.
That’s the case because Haliburton is not a volume scorer or an imposing physical presence. He doesn’t get to the rim a whole lot and earns very few free throws too.
What he brings to the table at this point of his development is intelligent execution within the flow of the offense, profiling as a caretaker point guard who can accommodate a ball dominant wing by being able to nail open shots, despite his unorthodox release, and create for others off a live dribble.
What that means is that Haliburton is likely to look better, or make more of an impact, when surrounded by better players. That’s obviously true for every player, but I’d argue it’s of particular importance for good “team players” like Haliburton.
But on a team with mediocre talent around him, he is probably unlikely to be viewed as a driver of success because he is not perceived as the sort of threat to score 30 that defenses fear the most. Considering that and the fact that he plays on a team that has lost nine out of 17 games so far, it would seem perhaps unlikely that his value would be properly matched with such a high investment. That’s why a potential top 10 selection would be somewhat surprising, historically speaking.
On the other end, Haliburton is pretty tenacious heating up the opposing ball handler and has shown a knack for creating events, not just reaching around for strips or jumping passing but even picking up a block quite regularly.
But despite his height, he doesn’t offer a lot of versatility as a defender yet because of his thin 175-pound frame, which probably restricts him to being viewed as more of a one-position defender at this point of his physical development.
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 DOB: 2/29/2000