For the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton's resilience made him a very rich man

Tyrese Haliburton decided to play through injury in the hopes of making an All-NBA team. Thankfully, it has paid off.
Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers - Game Three
Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers - Game Three / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

In just his fourth season as a pro, Tyrese Haliburton has done something that 90% of NBA players have not achieved, he made an All-NBA team. Two months ago, however, this seemed unlikely.

Prior to his hamstring injury, if you told someone that Tyrese Haliburton would make an All-NBA team, they would most likely agree with you. In 32 games before that fateful night against the Boston Celtics, Haliburton was averaging 24 points and nearly 13 assists on near-50/40/90 shooting while leading the Pacers to a 19-13 record when he played.

Bolstered by his incredible stretch in November where he averaged almost 29 points and 12 assists on historic efficiency, Haliburton seemed like a no-brainer for an All-NBA selection, even making a case for First Team All-NBA

Then, the injury happened.

Almost immediately after returning from his strained hamstring against the Boston Celtics, Tyrese Haliburton's play declined. In the 25 games after his return, Haliburton averaged 16 points and nine assists on only 45% shooting and a dreadful 30% from deep, miles lower than the 40-something percent he was shooting prior to the injury.

This run hurt Haliburton's stats pretty hard as well as the team, as the Pacers went 13-12 in those 25 games, with Pascal Siakam's arrival cushioning the blow suffered from Haliburton's injury.

During this run, Haliburton caught some flack from NBA fans and media members for continuing to play while still suffering obvious effects from the injury. Haliburton said it himself that he returned early to play with Pascal Siakam in his first game, a loss to Portland less than two weeks after his injury.

Following this game, it was quite obvious that Haliburton was not ready to return, as he missed the next five games to continue nursing his injury. However, it seemed as if that rest was not enough, since Haliburton was not the same player after returning, even going on a minutes restriction and coming off the bench for one game against New York.

Of course, the reason why Haliburton insisted on playing these games was to reach the new 65-game requirement for awards. Perhaps the main reason why Haliburton wanted to reach that requirement and make an All-NBA Team was the massive pay rise he would receive from it.

Haliburton's five-year $204 million contract that he signed prior to the 2023-24 season had an incentive that if he made an All-NBA team, he would make an extra $41 million over those five years. This is a lot of money, and with Haliburton only having one chance to make this money, he wanted to do everything possible to reach this requirement before it was too late.

Unfortunately, this desire to play and make more money resulted in Haliburton's stats taking a dip after the cold stretch. After averaging the aforementioned 24 and 12 over the first 32 games, the following 27 games, including the one in which he was injured in, lowered Haliburton's averages tremendously.

After 59 games played, Haliburton's averages went down to 20 points and 11 assists on 48/36/85 shooting splits, a noticeable decrease but still solid nonetheless. It also helped that Indiana held a strong 40-32 record after this cold stretch, which was good enough to stay in the playoff picture and show Haliburton's impact, hobbled or not.

Thankfully, Haliburton picked up his play in the final stretches of the season, as he averaged close to 19 points and nine assists in the final 10 games while shooting an improved 47% from the field and 38% from deep to get his season back on track before it completely went off the rails. This solid ending, combined with the Pacers snagging the sixth seed with 47 wins, a 12-win improvement over the last season,

Sure enough, Haliburton's resilience paid off and his desire to play through injury was rewarded with a spot on the All-NBA Third Team, making him only the sixth Pacer to ever make an All-NBA Team and unlocking the extra $41 million in his contract.


Haliburton's story this season just goes to show how resilient he is at only 24 years old and how much he deserved the All-NBA nod for continuing to play and even improving eventually despite the injury clearly having an effect on him. Currently, he has the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, so he must be doing something right.