Pacers Report Cards: Grading every Pacers player at season's end

With the playoffs on the way, now is a good time to give out end-of-season grades for every Pacers player.
Mar 16, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA;  Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam (43) celebrates with
Mar 16, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam (43) celebrates with / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Tyrese Haliburton

Stats: 69 Games, 32 MPG, 20.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 10.9 APG (franchise record), 1.2 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 2.3 TOV, 1.1 FPG 47.7/36.4/85.5 Splits on 60.5% TS

2022-23 Stats: 56 Games, 33.6 MPG, 20.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 10.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 2.5 TOV, 1.2 FPG 49/40/87.1 Splits on 62.4% TS

In my midseason grades, I gave Tyrese Haliburton a clear A+ for his performance in the first 56 games of the season, and for good reason. Haliburton built on his breakout 2022-23 season where he made his first All-Star team and led Indiana to playoff contention before injuries took himself and the team out of contention. It was clear that the end of the season didn't sit right with Haliburton and he came back in October with a chip on his shoulder and ready to prove everyone wrong.

And for the first half of the season, he did just that. Tyrese Haliburton's pre-All-Star run was the stuff of legends, as he took the NBA world by storm and improved on every facet of his game en route to leading Indiana to a 31-25 record by the break. During this run, Haliburton etched his name and the Pacers in general into the minds of casual fans and media pundits alike as a team clearly on the rise and ready to compete for a title in the next few years.

They displayed this competitiveness in the In-Season Tournament, where Haliburton took the basketball world by storm after two straight victories against the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, both of which included signature moments. Entering the new year with two revenge wins against Milwaukee, it seemed like nothing could stop Haliburton.

Unfortunately, before the All-Star break, Haliburton suffered a devastating hamstring injury against the Boston Celtics which sidelined him for a few games and affected his play for the rest of the season. What was initially thought of as a post-injury lull which would wear off after some rest quickly became a living nightmare as Haliburton entered the worst slump of his life, as he stated in an interview.

In the 17 games between February 8 and March 18, Haliburton's averages plummeted, as he put up only 15.6 PPG on 41% from the field and 26% from deep during this time and actively taking Indiana out of games with his terrible shooting, especially from deep.

While the assists were still there and he provided value with his playmaking, he was a clear negative on the court most of the time, and TJ McConnell was clearly outplaying him during this period. While Indiana wasn't hurt too much by his slump, going 9-8 thanks to players like McConnell and Pascal Siakam (who we will get to shortly), Haliburton not being his usual self was still hurting the team and looked to be a point of concern going into the playoffs.

Thankfully, this slump was not the end all be all for Haliburton's season, as he bounced back nicely to the tune of 19.1 PPG on 48% from the field and 36% from deep in the final eight games of the season to give Indiana that much-needed extra push for the playoffs. Still, the second half of Haliburton's season was significantly worse than his first half, and that much will be reflected in his grade.

However, it is important to note how impressive Haliburton was for the Pacers at his best, which was quite often. At his best, Tyrese Haliburton was placed in serious conversations for the best point guard in the East, and while those talks have cooled down, he has seemingly gotten his groove back and looks to be in good shape for the playoffs.

Despite the injury, he still had one of the best individual seasons in franchise history. Haliburton crushed the team's single-season assists record and led them back to the playoffs after four years of mediocrity. Here's hoping thatthe hamstring is in good shape for the playoffs.

Final Grade: A- (Injuries hampered him significantly, but still one of the best seasons in franchise history)