Monte McNair went into his first draft as the Kings General Manager with a number of options for the 12th overall pick. What he didn’t expect was for Iowa State point guard, Tyrese Haliburton, to be available that low in the draft.
With Vlade out, new executives in the front office, and McNair at the helm, the Sacramento Kings didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. They simply made the right choice and went with the best player available. Although he plays the same position as De’Aaron Fox, it would have been foolish to pass on a talent like Haliburton.
In his sophomore season with the Cyclones, Haliburton scored 15.2 points a game to go along with 6.5 assists, 5.9 boards, and 2.5 steals. He shot the ball at a high percentage as well, shooting 50% from the floor and 42% from deep.
Despite his efficiency, the young guard does posses an odd shooting form that could emerge as an issue.
It’s hard to fix what isn’t broken considering he is making his shots. In order to ensure his success with pull up jumpers and off the dribbling shooting, he may need to tweak his shot to improve that aspect of his game.
Haliburton’s greatest talent isn’t even his shooting ability, but rather his excellent passing, court vision, and high basketball IQ. He gets the ball exactly where the shooter wants it and makes smart, timely decisions.
On the other end of the floor, due to his ample knowledge of the game, Haliburton is a great team defender with a knack for stealing the ball.
Some of Haliburton’s downsides include his small stature, which makes himself susceptible to being bullied by opponents. He is also a little too conservative at times, getting timid when faced with attacking the rim and sometimes preferring to pass instead of taking the open lane which can lead to easy anticipation by the defender to guard the pass instead of the drive.
Regardless of his short list of negatives, the Kings got an absolute steal in Haliburton and the team should be excited. Next to Fox, it’s a great fit because he doesn’t need the ball in his hands to make an impact, he is more of a combo guard than a true point guard, he runs the floor well, and he is a solid catch and shoot player.
Such a steal in the draft makes it easier to cope with the situations regarding both Hield and Bogdanovic. The team seems to have a player that can immediately fill in at shooting guard and hopefully for the long term. With the way the Western Conference is stacked, the Kings are poised to finish lower in the standings this season. However, the chance to play Haliburton and develop him could give the Kings their backcourt of the future.
Any concerns regarding Bogdanovic, Hield, and the rest of the team can rest aside for a moment. This is something worth being happy about; we will look back one day and note this as a rare instance where the Kings had a solid talent on the board that the front office was smart enough NOT to pass on.