Tyrese Haliburton is not shooting enough for the Indiana Pacers

Tyrese Haliburton's lack of aggression has cost the Pacers their first playoff game in four years.
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks - Game One
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks - Game One / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The Indiana Pacers have a Tyrese Haliburton problem, and it just cost them a playoff game.

As everybody knows by now, Tyrese Haliburton has not been the same player since his hamstring injury in January. While he has recovered well physically, it has certainly taken a bigger toll on his mental game than anyone expected.

In his first 32 games of the season, Haliburton was on a tear, averaging 24 points per game and shooting close to 50/40/90 efficiency while doing it. He was confident with his shot, not afraid of the big moment, and ready to strike whenever necessary. Pre-injury Haliburton was an assassin from every part of the floor, delivering performances such as 37 against Atlanta, 43 against Charlotte, 44 against Miami, and four wins against Milwaukee.

Most importantly, pre-injury Haliburton was aggressive, taking just over 17 shots per game, including eight games of taking 20 or more shots. While Haliburton was never a shot-happy player, always relying on efficiency first and getting his teammates involved, he could at least shoot more when called upon and won Indiana quite a few games that way.

Since his injury on January 8, that has been significantly less true. In his final 35 games of the season, Haliburton went from taking around 17 shots per game to 13.6, almost four full shots less, and on tanked efficiency at that.

In these games, Haliburton only averaged 16.8 points on 45.5% from the field and 32.4% from deep as the Pacers desperately missed his aggressiveness, even losing some games due to his lack of shooting. After taking 20 or more shots eight times pre-injury, Haliburton only managed one such game in the second half of the season, in which he only made 9 of his 22 shot attempts.

Despite this, many still gave him the benefit of the doubt, believing he was saving the aggressiveness for the playoffs to avoid risking re-injury. After months of passive play, passing up drives for kick-outs, and jump passes, Tyrese Haliburton finally had the chance to show the world his skill on the big stage in his first playoff game.

Unfortunately, Haliburton's streak of passive performances not only continued but reached an all-time low. Against the Bucks in game 1, Haliburton only took seven shots, the fifth-most on his team and the least of anyone with 30 or more minutes played.

To give an idea of how drastic of a change this was, in the 2023-24 season, Haliburton had six games of taking less than 10 shots. Five of those six games were decided by 14 or more points, and the other one was the game he got injured in, where he only managed 13 minutes and five shot attempts.

For many Pacers fans who had to watch Haliburton struggle with his lack of confidence and TJ McConnell get more shots up than him, it was truly horrendous to see this trend continue in the playoffs.

Despite the injury, Haliburton is still the heart and soul of this Pacers team. While Pascal may be their best player on a lot of nights, this team still goes as far as Haliburton takes them, and currently, he does not seem motivated to take them far.

Indiana has a lot to work on for game 2, but for Haliburton, he needs to focus on putting shots up and getting ready to do so on the big stage. With this series being held in Haliburton's home state of Wisconsin, it is important for him to have some big games in front of his close friends and family, who are watching in the stands.


Of course, when the series goes to Indiana in game 3, the home fans will also look to see him improve his aggressiveness. Labeled as Indiana's savior, it is important that Haliburton starts acting like a franchise player, and starts shooting like one as well.