Rookie Rankings Round-Up: 2.24.21

Tyrese Haliburton continues his strong play, maintaining his status in the discussion for Rookie of the Year.
by Jordan Ramirez
Digital Managing Editor

Tyrese Haliburton's stellar rookie season continues, and the best players in the world are starting to take notice.

After tying his career-high mark with 23 points and nine assists against Brooklyn, both James Harden and Kyrie Irving talked to No. 0 following the close contest.

Here's where the NBA world ranks Sacramento's rookie amongst his fellow draftees: — 2

Haliburton’s consistent contributions — as Kings backcourt mates De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield have ups and downs — has some wondering if the No. 12 pick in 2020 should be starting. His 17.5 ppg scoring average since last Ladder led all rookies. He ranks third in scoring and second in assists among the newcomers, while shooting 44.2% from the arc with a 3.57 assist/turnover ratio. “I feel good where I’m at, I know there’s a whole other level to my game — a level that nobody’s ever seen,” Haliburton said recently.

Yahoo! Sports — 1

The do-it-all guard is averaging 44% from 3-point range and is not only leading all rookies in that category but is also 19th in the league, ranked just ahead of Kevin Durant.

“We just have to be better defensively. We get tired of talking about it every game, but that’s just it. We have to improve and get better,” Haliburton said. “We just have to get better. I don’t care what we do, blitz, drop, double, whatever it is, we just have to be better.”

Despite the midseason struggles, Haliburton has been one of the most productive guards off the bench and is lethal in the open court, averaging 6.5 assists and 15.5 points per 36 minutes. Because of his continued consistency in January and February, Haliburton edges out Ball in the current rookie rankings.

CBS Sports — 6

Haliburton has been so great this season, from his playmaking, his ridiculous speed, his ability to pull off some tough shots and stop on a dime to change directions, but if there's one area on offense that he needs to work on, it's scoring off the dribble. When he's coming out of a pick-and-roll, about 40 percent of the time he takes a jumper, but he's not making them at a great rate. He ranks in the 14th percentile in the league in that category, generating just 0.759 points per possession, which wouldn't be a big deal if he didn't go to that shot so often. He needs to become a more consistent scorer off the dribble to really unlock the next level of his game.

SportsNaut — 3

Most draft experts believed that Sacramento got a steal when it selected Haliburton No. 12 overall in last year’s NBA Draft. Those experts have been proven correct. Despite the Kings’ recent struggles, the Iowa State product has been on absolute fire in February. Haliburton is averaging 17.1 points and 5.4 assists on 53% shooting from the field, including a 49% mark from distance. He’s also playing nearly 32 minutes per game. This has the guard as a legit NBA Rookie of the Year candidate.

The Score — 2

There are only eight NBA players in the 50-40-90 club, yet none accomplished the feat as a rookie. Haliburton is likely due for regression at some point. In the meantime, he continues to shoot the lights out nearly two months into the season. The Iowa State product recorded 15.4 points per contest on 53.9% shooting over eight appearances in February.

Haliburton's offensive efficiency is remarkable, considering his minutes have steadily increased, particularly in the fourth quarter. The Kings guard is averaging the fifth-most minutes in the final frame and shooting 60.5% from the field - including 61.9% from distance - during the last 12 minutes of regulation.

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