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Tyrese Haliburton impresses on both ends of the floor against Phoenix

It's only the third game out of 72, but the 12th overall pick is showing extreme poise for Sacramento.

How many rookies have panned out for Sacramento in the last decade? How many are still in the league? Sacramento's draft crops over the years have been barren. The inability of a small-market team like Sacramento to cash in through the draft plays a glaring role in holding the NBA's longest playoff drought. So when a prospect like Tyrese Haliburton is available at 12, a reality that didn't seem real throughout the draft process, you can't help but gush about the future.

The key with Haliburton? He's already exhibiting brilliant qualities on both ends of the floor just three games into the regular season. Sunday's game against the Phoenix Suns served as an explicit example, where the rookie finished with 15 points (5-7 FG, 3-4 3P), six assists and one rebound in 27 minutes.

Despite the loss, Haliburton's play left me exultant, so I watched the tape to detail his performance. Let's dive in!

This play commences with Buddy Hield getting Deandre Ayton to switch onto him. Chris Paul situates himself to offer Ayton help, but that provides Haliburton with extra room on the wing. Buddy attacks and makes the pass.

Hali's hesitation freezes Jae Crowder as Mikal Bridges and Paul gravitate to Haliburton, giving Hali enough time to deliver a crisp bounce pass to CoJo, who converts. I've picked up a theme: He's always one play ahead.

This possession immediately follows the previous clip. Hali goes under on the dribble hand-off screen but stays attached, forcing Bridges to reset. Bridges drives left on the iso, Hali maintains positioning and gives up no room. He finishes the play with a great contest.

This clip succeeds the previous one. It's a rushed pull-up three from Buddy, but the ball bounces in favor of Hali. Hali surveys the floor and delivers a swerving pass right in Hield's shooting pocket for the bucket.

Three straight good possessions from the rook, ending in six points for Sacramento and none for Phoenix.

I want to highlight Hali's closeout speed here. Devin Booker curls inside after the DHO, draws the entire population of Sacramento and delivers a no-look pass to the corner. Hali takes only one second to recover (peep the shot clock). However, better offense prevailed as Bridges converts.

Nemanja Bjelica fades away as Hali and Bagley get to work. The DHO flows into a mid-range pick-and-pop jumper as Bagley gets a simple look. It helps that Frank Kaminsky is the defender because he was slow to recover, but I like the potential of a Hali-Bagley 1-2 game. Bagley needs easy looks like this to knock down, and Haliburton has displayed the passing chops to arrange that.

Phoenix runs multiple DHOs to get Booker the ball on an iso. Sacramento switches on each one, so it's Hali vs. Book. Haliburton smartly goes over the screen this time, giving Booker no room to pull up until the very last crossover. Fortunately for Sacramento, Hassan Whiteside came from the weak side to block the shot.

This is simply beautiful. As I said, he's always one play ahead. Sacramento breaks out in transition, but reset after an untidy bounce pass by Haliburton. The ball movement is exquisite; Haliburton draws two defenders on the contest, and instead, he rises up for the pass to Whiteside down low. Easy points.

This is similar to the first clip I showed, but with different personnel. Whiteside can't establish position down low, but Fox spots Hali just like Buddy did earlier. This time, though, Hali needs to shoot this one (peep shot clock). It's no problem; He drills it over the contest.

This play starts off jammed and ugly, but it doesn't finish that way.

Hali rejects the Whiteside screen (props to Bridges' defense), gets the step on Bridges after Bridges backed into the screen and floats a pretty one over Ayton's out-stretched arms. Haliburton's ability to create for himself hasn't gleamed in the same way as his other traits so far, but he possesses the tools to do so.

A rare blemish from the game: a Hali airball.

The initial stagger screen for Hield inverts to a double-drag for Hali, who's able to gain a good look curling off the screens. The result, however, left much to be desired. If Haliburton can attach a pull-up jumper to his already venerable arsenal, oh boy.

This honestly might've been his best play. He sets the back screen to switch Bagley onto Booker, but Booker shuts down the Bagley iso (yeah, quite concerning).

Bagley resets to Hali on the wing, who attacks the rim late in the shot clock and somehow finishes in traffic.

Again, he's always one play ahead. His off-ball movement leads to a DHO with Whiteside. Rumor has it that Galloway is still spinning. Barnes slightly fades, then comes back in; Hali attacks the space cleared by Barnes, draws in Barnes' defender and boom, easy dump pass for two.

Haliburton's play is alleviating the pain of letting an asset like Bogdan Bogdanovic walk for zilch. If Bogi remained in Sacramento, the backcourt minutes would be compressed, and it's likely that Haliburton wouldn't be receiving the minutes he's currently getting -- and earning.

Keep on shining, rook. You've already got an entire city behind you.

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andy_sims
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December 29, 2020 10:03 am

I hope that he doesn’t die on the way back to his home planet.

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TheFifthMookie
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December 29, 2020 10:46 am
Reply to  andy_sims

The only poise I know of:
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Last edited 1 year ago by TheFifthMookie
SMF-PDXConnection
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December 29, 2020 10:11 am

I read somewhere this morning that Ty has played the most minutes of any rookie so far this season.

I’m really impressed with him and just as equally stupefied that so many teams above us with guard needs passed on him.

ForKingsandCountry
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December 29, 2020 1:10 pm

We are three games in and the Knicks passing on him already looks absurd. They have such a glaring need at point guard it seemed like such an obvious fit.

SMF-PDXConnection
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December 29, 2020 2:18 pm

Or Detroit. I haven’t seen game footage, but Hayes’ stats are not good.

King4life
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December 29, 2020 10:16 am

Haliburton plays like he belongs on a playoff team. I’m so impressed with how good he is and how he’s almost always making winning plays. Can’t wait to see what he looks like in a year or two!

AirmaxPG
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December 29, 2020 10:37 am

Really wondering what this kid could do alongside a Cade Cunningham and/or Emoni Bates. Then things could start to get interesting.

But we’re probably going to be just good enough the next couple years so that won’t happen.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
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December 29, 2020 10:42 am

I’m lovin’ this kid. Still amazed at how many teams passed don him.

TheFifthMookie
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December 29, 2020 10:48 am
Reply to  Klam

because ‘kangs’, I’m amazed he wasn’t a falling knife – kid is *legit* and that’s even more exciting than the 2-0 season start.

Kingsguru21
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December 29, 2020 10:48 am
Reply to  Klam

Politics, money and stars. Makes the world go round.

Kingsguru21
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December 29, 2020 10:46 am

Video breakdown posts!

Inglourious Basterds Bingo GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

WizsSox
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December 29, 2020 10:49 am

I think this had to factor into Mcnairs choice on bogi. While he didn’t know how good Hali might be for sure, he definitely wanted to get him mins. That means less mins for Bogi. I think due to less playing time Bogi prolly has less counting stats. 4 for 72 isn’t necessarily a value contract for a guy that might have only been averaging 9-10 pts a game on this team. National writers still keep saying how dumb it was to not match and trade him later…I don’t think a positive value trade is an automatic assumption that can be made. Then what do you do with another bad contract?
I think while it stinks and woulda been nice for the bucks trade to go through, given the way it shook out and who fell to them in the draft, the prudent move was made.

Last edited 1 year ago by WizsSox
itsjabby
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December 29, 2020 11:27 am
Reply to  WizsSox

Imagine having donte on this team too…CoJo would probably disappear on the bench. Even though I havent completely hated Cojo’s play.

PretendGhost
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December 29, 2020 2:10 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

With how well the Kings are playing, I’ve begun to wonder if they’ll regret not having signed Bogi if this turns into a legitimate playoff push.

That said, the flexibility they’ve retained this season from not signing Bogi could end up being a lot more valuable than the guy himself. I do wish that we’d landed Di Vincenzo, though.

andy_sims
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December 29, 2020 5:08 pm
Reply to  PretendGhost

If we keep Bobo, Halliburton gets about four minutes of garbage time a night, and at least some of the cheap new guys wouldn’t have gotten signed. He is just not the guy that you want to hitch yourself to for four years, especially during a rebuild.

PretendGhost
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December 31, 2020 3:35 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I think that would depend on if Walton is still as impressed by Haliburton in training camp even with Bogi present, enough that he wants to put him in the lineup.

If that’s the case, Walton likely uses a 10-man rotation instead of the 9 he’s been doing, with Haliburton and Buddy playing the wing positions off the bench.

1951
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December 29, 2020 11:27 am

“Haliburton, Haliburton, Haliburton! Did you Herald people even listen to my latest album?”
– Marvin
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1951
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December 29, 2020 11:29 am

It’s a good thing we passed on Luka, as we may not have drafted Tyrese!

😉

SMF-PDXConnection
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December 29, 2020 11:56 am
Reply to  1951

Says the man bragging about being undefeated in the ESPN Fantasy app!

Kosta
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December 29, 2020 11:59 am

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Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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December 29, 2020 12:43 pm
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Jman1949
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December 29, 2020 1:24 pm
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MichaelMack
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December 29, 2020 1:53 pm
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Roy Orbison > Elvis

GFunkClassic
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December 29, 2020 12:37 pm

Good write up but don’t understand the need for the “quite concerning” jab at Bagley. Booker should be able to stop dribble penetration from a big on the perimeter. It would be different if Bagley had him in the post with an iso. There was nothing concerning about that particular play.

Crocoduck
December 29, 2020 1:58 pm
Reply to  GFunkClassic

He tried to take a guard off the dribble with a completely set defense from the top of the key with 12 seconds left in the shot clock. It was a poor decision that wasted 7 seconds and forced Hali into a tough spot with 5 seconds left.

GFunkClassic
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December 29, 2020 3:39 pm
Reply to  Crocoduck

He tried attacking… it didn’t work and kicked the ball out. This happens to anyone who’s played the game on hardwood. This is not a poor decision at all, it’s called playing basketball.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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December 29, 2020 12:41 pm

God, I love this kid. I still pinch myself that he fell to #12.

Great clips and analysis, Sanjesh!

RORDOG
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December 29, 2020 1:01 pm

The advanced stats back up the eye test! John Hollinger has a value added stat (essentially VORP) he uses to player contribution. After 3 games, Haliburton leads all rookies. He gets my early season ROY vote.

rc50cal
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December 29, 2020 1:03 pm

Adam Sandler GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Hot take alert! 🚨

He will be the best player we currently have on the roster.

ForKingsandCountry
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December 29, 2020 1:13 pm

Great write-up! His passing and facilitation are next level but the thing I’m most excited about is having a player who actually stays in front of his man on defense. I can’t remember the last time the Kings drafted someone who did that consistently.

Sacto_J
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December 29, 2020 1:47 pm

The level of enthusiasm I have for this kid is the same as I’ve had for guys like Thomas Robinson, Stauskus, WCS, (Bagley) etc in the past, but Haliburton’s play is actually deserving of the pre-draft hype and said enthusiasm. Looking forward to his development, its so refreshing to have something that helps us get better and not just a snake-oil placebo for a change…

MichaelMack
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December 29, 2020 1:55 pm

I feel like he is a great combo of Doug Christie-Kevin Martin-Vern Fleming. What a terrific find at #12. Luck like this is how franchises get on the right track.

Kingsguru21
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December 29, 2020 2:30 pm
Reply to  MichaelMack

Vern Fleming? Ay ay ay. You’re all about the oldies but goodies aren’t you Mike? (Before my time, don’t really remember him.)

RORDOG
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December 29, 2020 4:32 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I loved the way Vern used to drive the lane
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RikSmits
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December 29, 2020 2:00 pm

Great stuff. Like, no love his defensive awareness and skills, fundamentals, BBIQ, playmaking, shot selection, team oriented play and demeanor.

he’s like the anti-Bagley.

TheGrantNapear
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December 29, 2020 4:20 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I guess talking negatively about Bagley earns down votes. Bagley is still who we all thought he was, I haven’t seen anything that changes my mind about the kind of player he is.

andy_sims
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December 29, 2020 5:09 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Negativity is fine. Your problem is that you’re boring.

RikSmits
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December 29, 2020 6:46 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Well, that is less of a problem than, say, being a prick.

andy_sims
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December 30, 2020 7:09 am
Reply to  RikSmits

And with that, the site needs an irony badge.

RikSmits
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December 29, 2020 6:47 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Yeah, I expected the downvotes.

i’d love to hear an argument why I am mistaken.

CarinaM707
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December 30, 2020 5:38 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Based on this statement, Hali is the anti-Bagley.

But I see a lot of negativity in general about Marvin. Let’s be happy to see him healthy and see how he can progress. Has he in 4 games this season? Not in a major way, but I will give him some time. He’s still a great athlete who can score and rebound for us.
He may never live up to the expectations we have of him as a former #2 who went before Doncic.

But if he’s a walking double double, and we add another high caliber player to fill out our top 3….I can accept him for that at the right price. As a 4th or 5th option, on a team that’s winning, I’ll take it.

But back to Hali. I love his play! So happy he dropped to 12.

OG_Aggie
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December 29, 2020 4:42 pm

Hopefully not a dumb question:

What is a DHO?

RORDOG
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December 29, 2020 5:09 pm
Reply to  OG_Aggie

Dribble handoff:
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andy_sims
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December 29, 2020 5:11 pm
Reply to  OG_Aggie

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