Tyrese Haliburton
(Matt Kryger)

Player Review 2022: Tyrese Haliburton

Age: 22
Years Pro: 2
Status: Entering third year of rookie contract.
Key Stats: Averaged 17.5 points, 9.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 26 games with Pacers, posting .502 field goal percentage and .416 3-point percentage. Averaged 15.3 points, 8.2 assists, and 1.7 steals over total 77 games this season (51 for the Sacramento Kings), shot 47.3 percent from the floor and 41.4 percent from 3-point range.

Amid a topsy-turvy season, Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard strayed from his normal routine and executed a blockbuster midseason trade just before the deadline. He looked to re-tool the roster and set his sights on one of the NBA's rising stars. Although it took a hefty haul, including the departure of two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis, it led to the acquisition of 22-year-old point guard Tyrese Haliburton.

Drafted 12th overall in the 2020 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, Haliburton appears to be the Pacers' plan for the future. In his first media availability on Feb. 10, the young guard stated that he would "put everything (he's) got" into playing with Indiana. After his first 26 games with the Blue & Gold, that sentiment seems true.

The Iowa State product shined when Pacers fans needed something to watch. While donning Indiana's jersey, Haliburton averaged 17.5 points, 9.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. He brought a fast-paced style of offense to the Blue & Gold, playing with his head on a swivel. He frequently sought easy transition buckets off long passes and spotted open wings along the perimeter. He also showed no hesitation in throwing lob passes to awaiting big men for an alley oop. Additionally, he proved to be an adept and pesky defender.

"I thought it was a year of me being able to showcase what I worked on in the summer," Haliburton said in his exit interview with the media. "(I) moved back to the primary ball-handling role that I'm accustomed to playing."

Tyrese Haliburton

Photo Credit: Matt Kryger

Upon arrival, Haliburton made an immediate impact. He reached the 20-point mark in six of his first eight games with the Pacers, including the first two contests. Playing against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Feb. 13, the Wisconsin native posted 22 points, five boards, and 16 assists — one shy of his career-high he set with Sacramento eight days prior. He would hit the 17-assist mark again on April 3 versus the Detroit Pistons.

One of the most underrated facets of his game was his availability. Splitting time between the two squads, Haliburton missed just five games this season, making him the second-healthiest Pacer on the current roster (Buddy Hield, who came over with him in the trade, played 81 games). He played at least 20 minutes in every appearance, reaching the 40-minute mark nine times. It culminated in playing a season-high 47:04 against the Lakers as a member of the Kings and reaching 42:30 of action against the Thunder as a Pacer.

Another underrated facet of Haliburton's game this year was his 3-point shooting. Almost instantaneous, the guard became one of the squad's most potent deep threats. Using an unusual release, the guard averaged 41.6 percent beyond the arc as a Pacer and hit a career-high six in a game two times. Combining his games with the Kings, he finished with an overall 3-point shooting percentage of 41.4.

Of course, it is difficult for any player to duplicate performances over the next season that awaits. But if Haliburton does so, he will hover around rare territory. Along with his 41.4 percent shooting from deep, the 22-year-old finished 47.3 percent from the floor and 84.2 percent from the charity stripe. If things improve accordingly, he can add his name to the shortlist of players who complete a 50/40/90 season in NBA history. Pacers fans cannot wait to see his talent on display for the 2022-23 NBA season.

"I'm proud of the year I've had," he said. "I feel like there is a lot more to come."

2022 Pacers.com Player Review Schedule

April 18: Tyrese Haliburton
April 19: Buddy Hield
April 20: Chris Duarte
April 21: Isaiah Jackson
April 22: Oshae Brissett
April 23: Malcolm Brogdon
April 24: Goga Bitadze
April 25: Myles Turner
April 26: Duane Washington Jr.
April 27: T.J. McConnell
April 28: Jalen Smith
April 29: Lance Stephenson
April 30: Terry Taylor