Tyrese Haliburton wins Player of the Week, makes history with 20-20 performances

Indiana Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton has been on a rampage this season.
Indiana Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton, NBA Player of the Week
Indiana Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton, NBA Player of the Week / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

The NBA recently named Tyrese Haliburton the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after the Indiana Pacers point guard put together a historical Week 10. The All-Star floor general dropped 53 dimes in three games from Dec. 25 to Dec. 31, averaging a remarkable 25.3 points and 17.7 assists. He shot 50.9% from the field and 42.9% from beyond the arc across three electric wins.

In his last two outings of the week, Haliburton made some basketball history. In a Dec. 28 road win over the Chicago Bulls, he dished out 20 assists for the first time in his career.

Haliburton became the second player in NBA history to record at least 20 points and 20 assists without any turnovers. Chris Paul is the only other player to accomplish the feat.

Haliburton also became the first-ever player in the three-point era to put up 20 points and 20 assists while splashing at least five 3-pointers. He smacked six threes on 13 tries, ending the contest with 21 points and 20 assists.

The fun didn’t end there for Haliburton, who backed his Bulls game up with yet another 20-20 outburst. In a 140-126 victory over the New York Knicks, the 23-year-old hooper made more history in front of a Gainbridge Fieldhouse home crowd.

Haliburton detonated for 22 points and 23 assists, joining legendary playmakers Magic Johnson and John Stockton as one of three players in NBA history to drop back-to-back 20-20 games with points and assists.

Haliburton struggled from three against the Knicks, but everybody else in a Pacers uniform ate. Indiana tied a franchise record for three-pointers with 23 makes from downtown. Aaron Nesmith sank a career-high seven threes, and Myles Turner hit six of his own. The Pacers shot 53.5% from deep as a team, and Pacers not named Haliburton converted a mind-blowing 63.6% (21/33) of their 3-point attempts.

In his postgame presser, Haliburton spoke with Pacers media about the team’s red-hot shooting night.

"Assists don’t happen without guys making shots … Guys have to make shots for me to get assists, and we’re doing that at a high clip right now. Everybody shot well from three, except for me. 55% from three, 60% from the field – that’s pretty good. Thought we did a good job moving the ball around and guys were making shots."

Tyrese Haliburton

Haliburton has taken the league by storm with a breakout 2023-24 season. In 29 games, Rese has notched 24.7 points per game and 12.7 assists per game while shooting 50.1% from the floor, 40.6% from three, and 85.6% from the free throw line. Indy’s franchise player ranks sixth in Player Efficiency Rating (PER) this season and leads the NBA in total assists, assists per game, and assist percentage.

The All-Star guard leads the league in points created by assists with 33.6 per contest. Trae Young trails him in second place with 28.8 assist points created. Since the NBA began tracking the stat in the 2013-14 season, no player has reached Haliburton’s current mark. If the season ended today, Haliburton would shatter Russell Westbrook’s 2020-21 record of 30.1 assist points created.

Haliburton also leads the league in offensive box plus/minus (OBPM) this season. According to BPM developer Daniel Myers, box plus-minus estimates a player’s impact on his team using “box score information, position, and the team’s overall performance” while filtering out players with minimal minutes by making calculations per 100 possessions.

For reference, two-time MVP and reigning Finals MVP Nikola Jokic has led the NBA in OBPM for the last three seasons, setting three of the best ten single-season marks ever.

Haliburton currently holds the third-best OPBM in NBA history with a 9.55 mark. According to Myers’ scale, an 8.0 mark would equate to an MVP season with a mark closer to 10.0 signaling an all-time-great campaign.

Thanks to an absolutely lethal combination of scoring and playmaking, Haliburton has mirrored the greatness of Jokic in many ways. From the ultimate elevation of his teammates to his clutch decision-making, the 6-foot-5 sharpshooter has shattered expectations and transformed into a top-ten player on the planet. He put that transformation on full display when he lit up the league for Player of the Week honors. 

Following his epic week, Haliburton extended Indiana's win streak to four in a row with a New Year's Day victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Pacers ousted their division rivals 122-113 behind a near triple-double from Haliburton. Rese wished the Bucks a Happy New Year with 26 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds.

He then led them to a second-straight win over Milwaukee on Wednesday night, bringing their record to 4-1 on the season against their new rivals.

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Haliburton has not only emerged as an NBA superstar, but as a future Hall-of-Fame candidate. Assuming the all-world talent stays relatively healthy, Haliburton should end his basketball career as one of the best point guards in the history of the sport.