Revisiting the Pacers trade for Tyrese Haliburton: One year later

Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers and Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers and Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Indiana Pacers
Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield of the Indiana Pacers (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Pacers Side:

Since this trade, Tyrese Haliburton has played 71 out of a possible 83 games and has only missed significant time recently due to elbow and knee problems that kept him out for most of January.

Buddy Hield, on the other hand, has not missed a game since coming to Indiana, with 83 out of 83 possible games played for him. As a matter of fact, Buddy Hield has so far been the only player to play and start every single game of the season, with 57 out of 57 games played and started in the 2022-23 season (Bennedict Mathurin has also played 57 games but has come off the bench for all but 6 games.

Throughout these 71 games, Haliburton has been averaging about 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 10 assists on 48/40/85% shooting splits as well as also currently leading the NBA in assists with 10.3 per game on the season. In addition, before missing time with injury, Tyrese was also ninth in the league in 3-pointers made and was first in total assists, having since been usurped by Trae Young and Nikola Jokic.

Buddy Hield, on the other hand, is averaging about 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game while also shooting 41% from 3. Currently, Hield is leading the NBA in 3-pointers made with 218 and is 7th in 3-point percentage, shooting 43% on the year.

In the 71 games before Tyrese came to Indiana, the Pacers had a record of 28-43 stretching back to the previous season and had no real direction as far as their future was going. They had Sabonis, as well as Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert but knew from their 19-35 start to the 2022 season that changes had to be made, and fast because sensational rookie Chris Duarte was good, however, entered the NBA at a ripe age of 24, so he wasn’t exactly the spring chicken they could put their faith in.

In the 71 games that Tyrese has played in Indiana, not counting games out with injury, the Pacers have had a record of 29-42, and finished the 2022 season at 25-57, snagging Bennedict Mathurin with the 6th pick of the draft. Currently, the Pacers are 25-32 and are the 12th seed in the East. While this looks virtually identical to the games prior to Haliburton’s arrival, what this doesn’t show is that Indiana was sitting at a record of 23-18 and the 6th seed in the East (one game behind Embiid, Harden, and the 76ers) before Haliburton’s January 11th injury and subsequent absences from games. Despite early predictions from a lot of people, myself included, to be a lottery team, Indiana was shocking everyone and was stringing together a fun and exciting team that was winning games, akin to the 2018 Pacers of 5 years prior.

However, this did not last through Haliburton’s injury woes, and during his time away from the team, Indiana dropped to 1-9 and fell HARD in the standings, dropping to 10th, and have since only gotten worse, dropping an additional 2 spots as Haliburton and the rest of the team struggle to get back to their pre-injury groove. This does not, however, discount how fantastic they were playing prior to the injury, as a team that was previously thought to be tanking starting the season at 23-18 is nothing to sneeze at, and it’s rude to sneeze at things. Only time will tell if the Pacers’ early season run was a mere fluke, or if Tyrese and co can get things back together and string some wins together again.