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Tyrese Haliburton is playing his way into the Rookie of the Year conversation

Sacramento's first year guard is already making a name for himself.

When the Sacramento Kings snagged Tyrese Haliburton with the 12th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, many analysts considered their selection the steal of the night, and as the league's Rookie of the Year race heats up, Haliburton has continued to prove his immense value as a late lottery pick. Currently, he trails only LaMelo Ball in Rookie of the Year odds, while the NBA's Rookie Ladder places him third behind both Ball and James Wiseman. No matter where one looks, from national publications to the local media, Tyrese is the most recognized rookie the Kings have employed in quite a long time.

Haliburton's production on a per-minute and per-night basis has been incredibly impressive, especially when considering the fact that he comes off of the bench for the Kings. He's top-4 in his class in minutes, points, assists, and steals, and his turnover rate is also incredibly low, not just for a rookie, but for an NBA ball-handler in general. The former Iowa State star is averaging just 1.8 turnovers per-36 minutes, compared to 4.1 for Killian Hayes and 3.8 for LaMelo Ball, the other top passers in his class.

Of course, box score numbers can sometimes be deceptive, especially if a player is shooting at high volume and low efficiency, but that's not been the case with Haliburton. Despite his unorthodox form causing concern with some draft scouts, Tyrese ranks in the 95th percentile in effective field goal percentage among all guards, not just rookies. That percentage has been buoyed by his otherworldly accuracy from deep, as he's knocking down 49.5% of his three-point shots, which not only leads all first-year players, but actually ranks fourth in the entire NBA among players attempting at least 4.5 long-balls per game. The kid doesn't miss many shots, from anywhere on the court.

In addition to his shooting accuracy, Haliburton's court vision has also been elite. Although LaMelo Ball averages one more assist per game, Tyrese bests Ball, and most other guards, in passing efficiency. Currently, he places in the 81st percentile in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.67 to Ball's 2.87), and Hali is also recording the league's best usage-to-assist ratio at 1.51. The transition game has also been Haliburton's to command, as he places in the 91st percentile, compared to Ball's 0.8th percentile (yes, that's a real thing), while also putting up a strong showing in the half-court, scoring 0.95 points per possession in pick-and-roll and turning the ball over just 7% of the time in that situation. Unlike many NBA rookie guards, Tyrese has been able to make an impact in the fast break and in slowed down situations as well.

Beyond the basics of scoring and passing and efficiency, the cherry on top of Haliburton's phenomenal ice cream sundae of a rookie season has been his comfort level in end-of-game situations. He places second in fourth quarter minutes among all rookies, and leads his entire class in points scored, field goal percentage, field goals made, three-pointers made, three-point percentage, and steals, while also turning the ball over just five times in the final period this season. His resume once again holds up when compared to the rest of the league as well. He ranks in the top-25 in minutes and points scored in the fourth quarter, while his 65% shooting from the floor places third among all players, and his 71% from deep leads the entire NBA. He's not simply the most clutch rookie thus far; he's developing into one of the most reliable fourth quarter players in the league.

The key to Tyrese Haliburton's rookie run hasn't been the quality of his play compared to his fellow first year players, but rather the quality of his play compared to any NBA player. His shooting and passing efficiency are some of the best in the league, while his clutch play has been unreal for a late lottery rookie. If he keeps up this level of contribution, there's no doubt he'll be in the running to take home some hardware at the end of the season.

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January 22, 2021 2:01 pm

You can see why everyone regards him as an analytics darling. He is fun to watch and the numbers more than back up his play.

I love reading statistics like the ones mentioned in this article, where do you find these stats? Is there a website that is user friendly that provides all of this?

Last edited 1 month ago by Peja
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
January 22, 2021 3:51 pm
Reply to  BabyGiraffe

Good stuff, Tim

January 22, 2021 10:28 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

yeah, that was a great read

January 22, 2021 3:38 pm

Ty Ballgame is the truth.

Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
January 22, 2021 3:51 pm

Tyrese is currently having a better rookie campaign than did ROY Malcolm Brogdon. It could even be argued that he is having a better rookie year than Brogdon’s 2nd season. IMO, at his current pace, he should be a lock for ROY…that is unless some other current rookie shifts things to another level in the coming months.

Even better, Brogdon was someone I comped Hali to before the draft. I think he will basically be a skinnier version of him, but with better length. My two favorite comps were a better shooting Livingston and a lengthier Brogdon.

One can only dream!

January 22, 2021 4:04 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Brogdon is a great comp, good eye.

January 22, 2021 4:02 pm

“In Monte we Trust”

I remember the days I would facetiously say “In Vlade we Trust”

At least we have a respectable GM and a nice long term prospect in Hali.

January 22, 2021 4:28 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

He can be as unrespectable as all-get-out if he keeps making smart moves.

January 22, 2021 4:37 pm

More important than anything else, Tyrese provides this team with some of the seemingly elusive intangibles that Kings teams have so glaringly lacked over the past decade plus. He’ll have off games shooting the ball, or maybe won’t put up big numbers every single night, but he plays smart, and he plays the “right way.” It’s not only fun to watch, it’s clearly infectious with his teammates too. When he’s out there, there’s less wasted motion on offense and more positive activity on defense. What makes him so special, are that these skills, predicated so much on basketball IQ, translate to any set of teammates on the court and any style of play. If we finally luck out here in Kings land and not only get a top three-to-five pick but also use it a player worthy of the slot, we won’t have to worry too much about how that player will fit with Tyrese. What we will know, is that that drafted player will have their game elevated when he and Tyrese are out on the court together.

January 22, 2021 4:54 pm

He is such an easy dude to root for and such smoothness and ease to his game.

May he coninue to develop and be a key cog to the next Kings playoff run.

Last edited 1 month ago by deepshot22
January 22, 2021 5:44 pm

If we can get a good pick again in this year’s draft and a good new coach, this team might actually be on the path to the playoffs…..

January 22, 2021 6:01 pm

I thought he was playing himself out of it

hes sucked for the last stretch, but certainly started the first 10-12 games in it said conversation

January 22, 2021 6:26 pm

This is good

January 22, 2021 6:27 pm

Too much good content today. I can’t keep up!

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