Tyrese Haliburton and the Pacers' success
When I last left off, Haliburton had played 71 out of a possible 83 games and averaged about 19 points, four rebounds, and 10 assists on 48/40/85% splits. While healthy, Haliburton led Indiana to a 23-18 record to start the 2022-23 season before injuries took the Pacers out of the playoffs and into the 2023 draft lottery. All in all, Haliburton's first 71 games as an active member of the Pacers resulted in a record of 29-42.
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.
Without Haliburton on the floor, Indiana's play dropped drastically, going 1-9 in the games he missed and ending the season as the 11th seed in the East, far removed from their early playoff hopes.
Since then, however, through a combination of drastically improved individual and team play, Haliburton has kicked his game into another gear and has firmly etched his name into the elite point guards of today.
Since the last trade update, which was February 12, 2023, Haliburton has played 50 of a possible 77 games, once again missing significant time due to injury and injury management. In this time, however, he has completely taken his game to another level and firmly etched his name into the pantheon of elite point guards of today.
In these 50 games, Haliburton has averaged 22.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 11.8 assists, the most of any NBA player during this span by far, with a full assist lead over Trae Young's second-place number of 10.6. Haliburton has also improved his efficiency to borderline elite level, with new shooting splits of 50.5/40/87, while having a true shooting percentage of 63.1%, good for 31st in the league and 4th among point guards.
In addition to individual improvement, the Pacers as a whole have also been far better than they were a year ago, with Haliburton's 50 played games since the last update resulting in a 27-23 record, a far cry from the 29-42 record in the 71 games before the last update.
The Pacers have also amassed an impressive 22-18 record with Haliburton on the floor this season, which is not to shy away from their still impressive 29-24 record in general, good for 6th in the East and prime to improve with a much easier schedule going forward.
Overall, Haliburton has played 122 total games for the Indiana Pacers, including the In-Season Tournament Final which does not count toward the regular season. In these games, Haliburton has averaged 20.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 10.7 assists (first in the league since February 8, 2022) on impressive 49.5/40/86% shooting splits while leading the Pacers to a 56-66 record while healthy. Not bad for a player who's had to play through injuries to himself or his team plenty of times.
Before the Haliburton trade, the Pacers were a team without direction, as they had plenty of talented players in Caris LeVert, Sabonis, and Malcolm Brogdon but no way of putting it together and were a clear few tiers below the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.
Now, however, with the addition of Haliburton and recently acquired Pascal Siakam, Indiana is finally back into legitimate contention and looks to make some noise in the East for the first time in a while.