The Indiana Pacers acquired Tyrese Haliburton in a blockbuster deal at the NBA trade deadline a few months ago. While sending Domantas Sabonis away hurts the team in the short term, it is clear that Indiana has shifted its focus to the next core of great Pacers basketball.
Haliburton played in 26 games for the Pacers this season and started in each game he played. He also led the team in minutes played at 36.1 per game.
Tyrese Haliburton’s (Pacers) season stats: 17.5 PPG, 9.6 APG, 4.3 RPG, while shooting 41.6% from three and 50.2% from the field.
What went right for Haliburton throughout this down season with the Indiana Pacers?
Haliburton is blooming into a star in this league as Indiana gets their first true point guard in a long time. You can see his impact right away and now for the Indiana Pacers, it is about building a supporting cast around their rising stars in Haliburton and Chris Duarte.
Tyrese has an expanded role as the lead ball-handler, or at least he should be even when Malcolm Brogdon plays. Haliburton had 12 games of 10 or more assists in those 26 games with Indiana.
He even tied his career-high 17 assists against the Detroit Pistons a few weeks ago, including a slick no-look pass to Isaiah Jackson.
To go along with his facilitating abilities, he has been a great shooter from all over the court this entire season. Shooting 50.2% from the field is no joke and Haliburton is doing so on 12.4 attempts per game.
Haliburton is the new face of the franchise and that makes the Indiana front office’s job much easier this offseason in knowing what players they need to fit next to the young point guard.
Rick Carlisle and Kevin Pritchard nailed last year’s draft with their lottery pick and the 22nd pick they traded up to get. Maybe we will see a similar deal this draft night since the Pacers won’t get the Cavaliers’ first-round pick this year.
What went wrong for Haliburton this season?
The instability that came from being traded didn’t affect his on-court play but was surely an eye-opener to the business of the NBA.
Haliburton opened up about the trade in his first media availability with the Pacers.
"“It hurt when I got traded. I loved being there and I loved the people. But coming here, I’m gonna do the same thing. They’ve shown me nothing but love since I’ve got here, they’re another organization taking a chance on me when they have no reason to, so I’m gonna put everything I’ve got into this.”"
Tyrese had not even a thought that there would be a chance he would be traded, so this was a total shock to the Sophomore. However, his numbers only got better since the trade.
Haliburton before joining the Pacers: 14.3 points, 7.4 assists, 41.3% from deep, and 45.7% from the field on 11.5 attempts.
Haliburton since joining the Pacers: 17.4 points, 9.8 assists, 41.6% from deep, and 50.2% from the field on 12.8 attempts. He also leads the team in steals per game with 1.8.
Haliburton was the 12th pick in the 2020 NBA draft, so the Pacers have essentially picked two lottery picks in the last two years and have a chance at picking another high pick this year as well.
Tyrese has to start over pretty quickly in his NBA career with new relationships, and a new city to learn on top of the pressures that come with being the face of the franchise. Not to say he can’t handle that pressure, but it certainly doesn’t make it easier for him.
Haliburton is all smiles since being in Indiana so it seems he has begun to adapt to this new city, but this offseason will be a big one. More new faces will join the team and Tyrese will get to grow his relationships in the Fieldhouse and around the community.
The Indiana Pacers got something special this season.