Tyrese Haliburton is the leader of the Indiana Pacers

Tyrese Haliburton - Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrese Haliburton - Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indiana Pacers played their first summer league game on Friday evening. Tyrese Haliburton was in attendance to watch his team play and see the rookies make their debut in the Pacers uniform.

Tyrese Haliburton is the face of the Indiana Pacers, and he knows it.

Haliburton was asked straight up if he has taken on the full-blown responsibility as the leader of this team during an in-game interview. “Yeah, I would say so,” he said.

Now I love hearing this from Tyrese. I think he is the face of the franchise at this point, but what if you’re Myles Turner? He is by far the longest-tenured Pacer with seven years of experience here. It seems odd that his name doesn’t come up more in interviews with the front office when talking about the young guys (he’s 26) and being part of this team in a larger capacity.

After the team traded Sabonis, it seemed that the keys were handed to Turner to be the team’s Center, and then “Will the Pacers sign Deandre Ayton?”. Back when Paul George was traded, the narrative was that Myles was to be the leader of whatever was next.

Little did we know just what Victor Oladipo would become. Time and time again, it looks like he is getting that larger role, and then a trade rumor blooms or the team brings in another guy, and consequently, Turner is back to being the sidekick. Not to say there is anything wrong with that, but does Turner feel valued in Indiana?

I do think Turner deserves more credit. Players like Isaiah Jackson have given him praise for helping, but outside of that example, you don’t get a large sense that it’s Turner’s team. We haven’t seen Myles play with this new group yet so maybe this will translate on the court later and I just can’t see it now. Nonetheless, I am excited to see what those two can do with shared minutes next season.

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What does Haliburton do to express that leadership role he hopes to expand on?

"“I think just constant conversations with guys, I flew to Indy for a day a week ago and me and Ben just had dinner. So, just finding any way I can to interact with guys and I think just being myself helps.”"

Haliburton speaks like a seasoned veteran in this league, and it is quite impressive to see that convey at just 22 years old. He is taking on an exciting challenge coming into Indiana and that starts with summer league. The sixth overall pick Bennedict Mathurin is an important piece in the puzzle as well.

What does Haliburton notice about Bennedict’s character?

"“I think it’s cool because he’s more of a quiet and reserved guy and I am more of a loud and don’t shut up so it kind of fits perfect. He plays so hard and I see him breaking out of his shell already, starting to grow and talk more, so I think we fit really well.”"

Tyrese had high praise for his new teammate and also made a funny suggestion – half of the Indiana Pacers roster is out here playing in summer league. It is not usual to see the majority of your in-season contributors clocking heavy minutes in the summer, but this is a different group.

We will see if the Pacers make any more moves in free agency, but until then there will be two remaining summer league games before training camp. Then, the season is upon us as the Pacers look to build a new era with their young talent.

Next. Bennedict Mathurin is better than LeBron, and more SL overreactions. dark