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Tyrese Haliburton Is Set to Be an All-NBA Player

Mar 9, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) celebrates a made shot in the overtime against the Houston Rockets at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

As early as his first few games in the NBA, Tyrese Haliburton became one of the league’s best young players. Coming out of Iowa State, Haliburton was a refined and high-IQ player that many basketball analysts noted as one of the biggest sleepers in the 2020 draft. While the Sacramento Kings drafted him with the 12th overall pick, it is clear now that he should have been selected sooner. 

In his rookie season, Haliburton stood out with his high level of play. His efficiency, playmaking, and overall poise for such a young player made him a clear-cut rising star in the league. Haliburton’s exceptional rookie campaign earned him All-Rookie First Team honors with the Kings in 2021. 

Despite his early success in Sacramento, the Kings made a blockbuster move to acquire Domantas Sabonis, which sent Haliburton to the Indiana Pacers. While Sabonis was a good fit with the Kings, the Pacers may have made an all-time move for their franchise by acquiring Haliburton. He has been exceptional the last year and a half with the Pacers. He earned his first All-Star selection last season for his outstanding play as Indiana’s primary floor general. Now, Haliburton is likely to make another leap in his game that could make him an All-NBA performer this upcoming season.

Tyrese Haliburton Is Set to Be an All-NBA Player

Elite Playmaking

Perhaps the most notable part of Haliburton’s game is his ability to distribute the ball effectively. At 23, he has already established himself as one of the league’s best assists men. Haliburton’s court awareness, creativity, and defensive vision all contribute to his ability to find teammates for easy scoring opportunities.

Haliburton’s assist numbers have continuously increased throughout his first three seasons in the NBA. In his rookie season, he averaged 5.3 assists per game. That number jumped to 8.2 in his sophomore year. While that is an excellent average for almost any other NBA player, it still did not reach Haliburton’s ceiling. Last season, he one-upped himself by averaging 10.4 assists per game. This ranked second in the league, just behind James Harden (10.7). 

While it may be challenging for Haliburton to average back-to-back double-digit assist seasons, he can achieve that feat. His understanding of the game has only progressed, along with his familiarity with defenses teams like to run. This will only add to his ability to make the right pass on different plays. The Pacers have also done a great job this offseason by adding rim runners/lob threats in Obi Toppin and Jarace Walker, as well as a premier fastbreak running mate in Bruce Brown, which could only help boost Haliburton’s assist totals. Overall, expect his assists numbers to stay right around where they were last season, if not even slightly better. This will add to his reputation as one of the league’s best playmakers.

High Efficiency

While his playmaking is elite, Haliburton is also a capable scorer. Last season, he averaged 20.7 points per game for the Pacers, leading the team. However, even more impressive than his ability to score is arguably the efficiency with which he does it. 

Despite his unorthodox shooting form, Haliburton has proven to be one of the most efficient players in the league. Last season, he shot 49% from the field, 40% from three, and 87.1% from the free throw line. For his career, Haliburton is shooting 47.9% from the field, 40.8% from three, and 85.7% from the free throw line. He is averaging a 60.3% true shooting percentage for his career, ranking him among the top 5% of players in shooting efficiency. It would not be far-fetched to predict Haliburton to have a 50/40/90 season this upcoming year. 

On top of his efficiency as a scorer, Haliburton is also an efficient decision-maker. Last season, he averaged just 2.5 turnovers in 33.6 minutes per game. His 4.1 assists-to-turnover ratio ranked 21st in the league last season. However, he was the only player among the top seven to average over ten assists and over 33 minutes per game. He finished last season with a 23.8 player efficiency rating, which placed him 15th in the league. Overall, Haliburton has stamped himself as one of the most efficient players in the NBA today. That efficiency is likely to carry over into this coming season. 

The Pacers’ Next Franchise Player

Although the Pacers have been rebuilding for the last couple of seasons, that does not take away from the fact that Haliburton has made a significant impact since he joined the team.

Last season, Haliburton had 6.4 offensive win shares for the Pacers, which ranked ninth in the league. He also had 1.2 defensive win shares, which brought his total to 7.6 last season for Indiana. Between his ability to be the Pacer’s floor general, a versatile perimeter defender, and a role model in the community, Haliburton is exactly the kind of player that can lead a franchise. 

The Pacers seem to agree with that, signing Haliburton this past offseason to a five-year contract extension worth up to $260 million. The decision to extend him until 2028-29 ultimately cements him as the face of the franchise moving forward. 

Haliburton’s potential to be a bona fide star in Indiana can only contribute to his All-NBA case. For a franchise that has been missing a centerpiece player for some time now, having a player like Haliburton for the long term is a big step in the right direction. He can prove his worth with his exceptional play and ability to lead a young team this season. While the Pacers have to see how the rest of the squad fits together, one thing is sure: Haliburton will be an elite player with an All-NBA nod waiting for him soon.


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