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3 Key Takeaways from Sam Amick’s Interview with Tyrese Haliburton

Tyrese Haliburton sat down with Sam Amick to discuss the Kings season, the draft, and more.

The Athletic's Sam Amick held a wide-ranging interview with Tyrese Haliburton covering everything from the draft, the rookie of the year race, social justice, the Kings season so far, and more. It's a deep dive, and well worth your time to read the entire article. Here are three key takeaways.

Haliburton didn't orchestrate his draft-day slide

A persistent rumor ever since draft day has been that Haliburton and his team had engineered his fall to the 12th pick so he could play alongside De'Aaron Fox. Haliburton speaks at length about the draft process, that he figured the 12th pick was his floor, that he spoke with the Kings once during the pre-draft process and they had said they loved him. It's clear that Haliburton was well informed on the variety of factors that would impact where he ended up. But as far as purposefully sliding to Sacramento, Haliburton says:

[T]here’s all these stupid rumors going around that I told everybody not to pick me because I wanted to go to Sac at 12, like come on now? Are you crazy? I would never. These teams just didn’t pick me, you know? It is what it is.

Amick adds that from his conversations with teams that passed on Haliburton, that none of them were dissuaded by Haliburton's camp. Amick spoke on the reasons teams passed on Haliburton:

As for the question of why he slid, most executives cited his unorthodox shooting form, his struggles getting to the rim and the free throw line, and concerns about his slight frame. All the intel off the court, as one source put it, was “off the charts.”

Not only did Haliburton not orchestrate the fall, he still maintains a chip on his should about it, telling Amick:

Everybody’s got to make their own decisions, and live with that. And then my goal is just to make people in 20 years be like, ‘Man, I fucked that up,’ you know?

So far I'd say several of the 11 teams that passed on Haliburton are already saying that.

Tyrese doesn't care if he's coming off the bench

Haliburton and Amick spoke about the frustrations of this losing season, and the challenges of adapting to the NBA. One of the things Amick asked was how it felt when Luke Walton moved him back to the bench. But the funniest part is that Buddy Hield had the least-surprising reaction to Haliburton being benched:

And…about coming off the bench. I’m not tripping off that. At the end of the day, I’m a basketball player. I’m not just saying this because it’s a media answer. Like, (veteran Kings guard) Buddy (Hield) yelled at me yesterday because I told him this and he was like, ‘Oh, don’t give me the media answer.’ But it’s the truth. I’m a basketball player at the end of the day, so I’m coming out here to compete every night. If you put me off the bench or start me or however many minutes, I’m going to value those minutes and compete. It is what it is.

So Buddy asked you what you felt and thought you were bullshitting him?

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Obviously I have aspirations to start and be a star and be a superstar, (and) I know that that can come. I’ve just got to go about my days the right way.

Oh, Buddy.

Tyrese Haliburton's cousin is former NBA player Eddie Jones

From what I saw on Twitter, this had been mentioned on the TV broadcast at some point, but I had completely missed it. Mind blown.

***

The interview covers far more than what I've highlighted here, and goes into much more depth on all topics. It's a really great read, and Haliburton comes off well throughout. How many rookies could explain "no, the rumors are wrong, I wasn't purposefully trying to be in Sacramento" and still not have it come across poorly? Haliburton is candid and insightful throughout, and it's a must-read for Kings fans.

 

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andy_sims
April 12, 2021 12:04 pm

He’s a bright young man, which definitely factors into the way he plays the game. It’s no wonder that his interviews are always great reads, his parents obviously did an amazing job raising him, and there’s no question that he’d excel in any vocation.

Even if it doesn’t concern him, I do think he’s been playing himself out of ROY contention lately. If you factor in all relevant statistics, he’s still the clear choice, but we all know that there are other factors such as, this other guy was drafted #1, or, he’s Lavar Ball’s kid.

RobHessing
April 12, 2021 12:07 pm

Best thing about this season.

Aykis16
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Nostradumbass 13
Nostradumbass 13
April 12, 2021 12:09 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Tyrese and Mark Jones are this season’s saving graces

Amonk81
April 12, 2021 12:09 pm

I LOVE Hali. Best pick or 2nd in this draft. Kings got lucky which makes it even more frustrating watching Vivek fuck up this opportunity.

A badass falls into your lap and the Kings aren’t looking to reset and get a high pick? Idiots.

andy_sims
April 12, 2021 12:17 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

Did you consider the possibility that in acquiring and playing said badass, the Kings won more games than they would have with a less-ready rookie? One can’t know for certain, but I think there’s a lot of truth to it.

Nothing operates in a vacuum. Except for the government satellites that are putting thoughts into your head.

IT’S IN REVELATIONS, PEOPLE.

WizsSox
April 12, 2021 1:42 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Absolutely. If you have talent like Fox and Hali it’s pretty damn hard to tank down to the bottom 5 without injuries. If you are able to, then you probably don’t have anything to build off of anyway, so you are 3-4 drafts away from respectability.

Last edited 1 month ago by WizsSox
ForKingsandCountry
April 12, 2021 3:27 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

So part of me agrees with this and the other part looks at the last 6 games and wonders how we have as many wins as we do. I feel like this team shouldn’t be as bad as it is at the moment but they are so what does that say about Fox in particular? I’m trying to figure out if he’s Monta Ellis or if he’s like Devon Booker was before Chris Paul showed up. I lean towards Booker pre-Paul but starting this off-season, the questions are coming about whether he can actually elevate his team or not.

WizsSox
April 12, 2021 4:36 pm

Yeah I think your right on that last part. I really feel the need to see this group with a different coach…we all agree that Luke isn’t great at his job, so it’s so hard to evaluate the talent you have accurately. If at the end of next year and a new coach it’s the SOS then I think the Fox question and raising a team up is going to be more fair. A few are there right now on this board…I disagree currently, but they could be right and ahead of the curve.

Amonk81
April 12, 2021 5:26 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

I don’t think so. If they had traded Barnes/Buddy etc you don’t think they’d have a shot at top 5? Hell yes they would.

Amonk81
April 12, 2021 5:24 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Didn’t express myself well. That wasn’t my point.

Trying to say, Kings got lucky and found a building block in Haliburton. That put them into better position to reset the whole thing. In position, that if they added a top 5 pick they may have something-a rebuild around 3 good players.

Having Haliburton probably got more wins but they were still in position at the break to go for reset and chance at top 5. That’s what they should have done. Vivek is an idiot.

RikSmits
April 12, 2021 12:13 pm

I understand that this is a business and players have all the right to look out for themselves, but I find it hard to endorse Buddy’s stance and I love Tyrese more for his.

Last edited 1 month ago by RikSmits
ForKingsandCountry
April 12, 2021 3:28 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I think the Buddy thing was the most revealing part of the interview. Tyrese seems to be exactly who I think he is… and Buddy does as well…

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
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Nostradumbass 19
April 12, 2021 12:15 pm

Love the kid, and love his attitude. The only real bright spot this whole season.

RORDOG
April 12, 2021 12:17 pm

I don’t think he orchestrated the draft day slide, but it definitely feels like he targeted specific situations he felt would be a good fit. There was a separate article or interview in which they talked about how he withheld his medicals to certain teams, and only worked out with teams that he wanted to play for. He also talked about how he basically told Atlanta he didn’t think their backcourt situation was ideal for him.

Otis
April 12, 2021 1:13 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Are you crazy? I would never.

I mean, that’s a pretty strong denial. On top of that, you think he’d sacrifice potentially up to $10 million over the term of his rookie deal…so that he could play for one of the most dysfunctional franchises in recent NBA history?

Come on now.

Kosta
April 12, 2021 1:14 pm
Reply to  Otis

CONFIRMED: Otis = Buddy Hield burner account!

‘Oh, don’t give me the media answer.’ 

comment image

Last edited 1 month ago by Kosta
RORDOG
April 12, 2021 1:44 pm
Reply to  Otis

I feel like you may have omitted some context, so here’s the full quote:

My thought process was that I wanted to go somewhere where they’ll give me an opportunity to compete for a spot, and whatever happens from there it happens. I felt like there were some other places that fit that better. So yeah, I guess there’s some truth to that (story). But there’s all these stupid rumors going around that I told everybody not to pick me because I wanted to go to Sac at 12, like come on now? Are you crazy? I would never.

As I said the last time we had this conversation, Haliburton preferred to go to specific teams that he felt would be a good fit, and the Kings were one of those teams. That’s different then saying he avoided the top 11 teams, so he could play for the Kings.

Otis
April 12, 2021 2:14 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

There was a separate article or interview in which they talked about how he withheld his medicals to certain teams, and only worked out with teams that he wanted to play for.

It feels like you’re trying to say he didn’t orchestrate it, but he kind of orchestrated it.

RORDOG
April 12, 2021 2:59 pm
Reply to  Otis

It depends on your definition of “it.”

ForKingsandCountry
April 12, 2021 3:30 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

It seems pretty clear he didn’t want to play for the Hawks.

Kosta
April 12, 2021 1:12 pm

Not enough GIFS of Haliburton on the internet yet.
comment imagecomment image

Last edited 1 month ago by Kosta
Gregoryl
April 12, 2021 1:29 pm

Buddy, just go away. Please, go away…
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RobHessing
April 12, 2021 1:57 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

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Klam
Nostradumbass 18
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Nostradumbass 19
April 12, 2021 4:11 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

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causalfan
April 12, 2021 1:31 pm

If LeMelo Ball comes back on the 20th, which will be 4 weeks since he was injured, doesn’t miss any games for the rest of the season and picks up where he left off, would his stats qualify and if they do, wouldn’t he be rookie of the year?

Peja
April 12, 2021 1:43 pm
Reply to  causalfan

Yes. He was beginning to run away as the ROY winner until he got hurt. Some voters will vote for Tyrese that are impressed with his efficiency, but Ball was leading rookies in many box score categories, was producing must watch highlights, is a famous name, and was helping a surprise hornets team win.

1951
April 12, 2021 1:49 pm

Only one takeaway: you would have to be a moron to bench this kid at this point!

RobHessing
April 12, 2021 2:02 pm
Reply to  1951

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Otis
April 12, 2021 2:17 pm
Reply to  1951

To be completely fair to Coach Knucklehead, Haliburton has played the third most minutes on the team since he moved to the bench, and the second most minutes in the fourth quarter (even more than our “superstar”).

RobHessing
April 12, 2021 2:28 pm
Reply to  Otis

I wonder how much burn Hali’s comet would have seen had the Kings matched on Bogi.

andy_sims
April 12, 2021 2:44 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

That’s everything right there. He’d have been stuck to the bench (except during one of Bobo’s frequent injury absences), because when you’re paying a guy $18 mil per year, the rookie gets no consideration at all.

If McNair had to keep Walton, there’s no question that regardless of his excellence, Haliburton would have been stuck with garbage time.

Otis
April 12, 2021 2:47 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

It’s a fair question, and I think the answer depends on what this team’s actual goal was this season (I’m still unsure).

Depending on injuries, I suspect Haliburton would have played his way into significant minutes at the expense of (primarily) Buddy and maybe Bogi.

I mean, the team’s given almost 1,500 minutes to guys like Cory Joseph, GRIII, DaQuan, Delon, Kyle Guy, etc. Buddy’s been on the floor over 1,800 minutes this season. There’s a contingent that feels Fox has been overworked this season.

Plenty of minutes would have been there for a player of Haliburton’s level.

Last edited 1 month ago by Otis
Otis
April 12, 2021 2:52 pm
Reply to  Otis

LOL, I just added up CoJo, GRIII, DaQuan, Delon, Davis and Guy’s minutes and it’s over 2,000.

RobHessing
April 12, 2021 4:19 pm
Reply to  Otis

You’re probably right. Though I wouldn’t put anything past Lukecifer. I think that a portion of those minutes that you note occurred due to Bagley’s injury – Walton went to the small lineup a lot more after Bags went out (I think). So I could sure have seen a scenario where Haliburton wound up behind Fox, Hield, Bagley and CoJo, who seemed to get his minutes from Walton regardless of how he was playing.

Kayte_Hunter_Fan_club
April 12, 2021 4:37 pm
Reply to  Otis

I think the goal is clear, I don’t particularly agree with it but trying to win games was their first objective. Personally I think they should have played this season the same way OKC has played it. They are a very conflicted organization right now and the trade deadline moves further confirmed that.

1951
April 12, 2021 4:18 pm
Reply to  Otis

Well, against Utah Hali played the 4th most minutes and only 2 more minutes than Moe. This is the same dimwit coach that managed to bench Holmes (+18 in a loss!) down the stretch of the game for … um … reasons! This is same basketball simpleton that never would have started Hali but for Bagley doing what Bagley does every year.

So, no thank you. I am not giving this joke of a coach the benefit of that kind of nuance or doubt. I think the idiot coach benched Hali over Buddy because he actually believes the bullshit that spews out of his own mouth for … um … reasons!

Last edited 1 month ago by 1951
Jman1949
April 12, 2021 4:33 pm
Reply to  1951

That Harkless for Holmes substitution was mind-boggling, and he’s done it two games in a row. It made me wonder if Monte “suggested” a no-Center lineup similar to what Houston tried last season (minus our having a Harden-level superstar). On the other hand Kayte, Jones, and Draper had been hinting at Luke wanting to try playing HB and Harkless together for several games before he actually went to it.

Kayte_Hunter_Fan_club
April 12, 2021 4:39 pm
Reply to  1951

So tell me 5 rosters the Kings are better than.

1951
April 12, 2021 11:32 pm

How did the Kings win 39 games with Joerger as coach and less talent?

ForKingsandCountry
April 12, 2021 3:23 pm

The interview was great and I love this kid. I am glad he’s a King. I thought the most revealing part was Buddy’s response to moving to the bench. Just another reminder that he clearly doesn’t get it.

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