Tyrese Haliburton, a sophomore guard from Iowa State, is one of the most highly-touted point guards in the upcoming draft class. Throughout his career, he’s flashed a versatile game with an excellent feel for the game, though it remains to be seen if Haliburton can continue his efficient production at the next level.
Tyrese Haliburton 2020 NBA Draft Profile
From unheralded recruit to likely first-round draftee, the rise of Tyrese Haliburton has been incredible to witness. In high school, Haliburton was ranked as an unremarkable three-star recruit, and he only received a handful of Division I scholarship offers. After committing to Iowa State, he was suddenly thrust into a major role due to widespread injury, and he played surprisingly well on a tournament team. Shortly after, he truly established himself as a blue-chip NBA prospect when he led Team USA to the championship of the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.
The 2019-20 NCAA season, although shortened due to his wrist injury, solidified his status as perhaps the best point guard in college basketball. Despite playing the most minutes in all of the Big 12 (36.7 mpg), Haliburton shot a pristine 41.9 percent from downtown, along with a smooth 50.4 percent from the field. He averaged 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.5 steals, and nearly one block. Based on his outstanding achievements, it’s clear that Tyrese Haliburton will be one of the first point guards drafted in the 2020 NBA Draft.
One of Haliburton’s biggest strengths is that he possesses a remarkably high basketball IQ. He has an elegant feel for the game, and his basketball vision is off the charts. Not only is this seen in his magnificent passing ability, but also in his defensive tendencies. Haliburton is an above-average rebounder, led the Big 12 in steals, and is one of the few point guards that can block shots on a consistent basis.
Another strength of Haliburton is his athleticism and physical traits. Haliburton is quite tall for a floor general, measuring at 6-5 with a nearly 6-7.5 wingspan. He has a great motor coupled with exceptional endurance, as seen by his excessive playing time. Given his athleticism, height, and high basketball IQ, Haliburton should be able to guard multiple positions at the next level.
A third strength is Haliburton’s superb shooting ability. In both his collegiate seasons, Haliburton shot above 41 percent from the three-point line, and above 50 percent overall. Playing on a weak Iowa State team this year, Haliburton received increased defensive pressure, but his high shooting percentages surprisingly did not wane. With his lights-out shooting, feel for the game, and great defensive motor, Haliburton is one of the most well-rounded prospects in recent memory.
First, Haliburton needs to become a more confident player. Rather than driving into the paint for an easy layup, he prefers to play more of an outside game. He takes very difficult shots that lead to concerns over whether he can ever be a lead guard. Additionally, his timidness manifested in an inability to consistently get to the free-throw line. His persistence in avoiding contact prevents him from getting easy points and may hinder him later in his career against better defenders.
Another weakness is Haliburton’s unconventional shooting form. He has a funky shot with a low release, making it easier for defenders to potentially block his shots. Because of his unorthodox mechanics, he often has trouble beating his defenders as he brings the ball from half-court. Because his physical advantages will be diminished against NBA defenders, Haliburton needs to speed up his release.
Tyrese Haliburton’s game is very similar to that of the New Orleans Pelicans guard, as their strengths and weaknesses coming out of college are virtually identical. Offensively, both have an extremely high basketball IQ, an unconventional shooting form, and productive shooting. Defensively, both are excellent, with a propensity to make steals and block shots, and both are tall for point guards. Finally, both players had an inability to get to the free-throw line consistently. Overall, it’s eerie how much Haliburton’s game echoes that of Ball’s.
NBA Draft Projection