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Tyrese Haliburton shakes off first-game jitters to display vast skillset in second preseason game

The rookie is showing basketball instincts not typically seen in players his age.

Your first day of work at a new job can generate a great deal of nerves. Of course, you were confident coming into the new gig, that's why you were hired. When day 1 actually arrives, however, it can be a little unsettling. Sacramento Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton went through this Friday night in his first preseason game against the Portland Trailblazers.

His hands were shaking and he was just trying to get a feel for everything. On the outside going into the game, he displayed confidence, but when he got out there it was a little different, he admitted. Carmelo Anthony switched out on him on a ball screen and he thought to himself, €œMan, this is really Carmelo Anthony.€ He knew he was now in the NBA.

He said in the first game he felt a bit like Calvin Cambridge in the movie Like Mike when he wasn't wearing his Michael Jordan shoes.

He just didn't feel quite right.

Haliburton wasn't bad in the first game. He displayed some of the passing, defense and the three-point shot that landed him the job. He was a little quick to get the ball out of his hands when it came to him, however, and wasn't too aggressive. Since then, everyone on the Kings staff and his teammates have been telling him to be more aggressive. He has also gained confidence simply from observing the confidence the Kings organization has in him. He appreciates it, and says he is on a mission to prove that the Kings made the right choice by selecting him with the 12th pick in this year's draft. His comfort level also has increased as a result of the coaching staff pulling him aside to chat about the game, and he is getting to know his teammates more.

In Sunday night's rematch with the Blazers, Haliburton said he felt a lot more comfortable, and it showed. He finished the game with 11 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block in 30 minutes of playing time. To top it off, he didn't have a single turnover. You saw the across-the-board skillset, basketball IQ and poise on full display. Granted he was largely going up against second string guys on the Blazers, but when Haliburton was on the floor the Kings were simply better on Sunday. He finished the game with a +20 in the plus/minus column.

€œThe way he gets the deflections, the steals. He's seeing what's happening out there from not just from his spot, but like all great guards, he sees it from what everyone else is doing too,€ said Head Coach Luke Walton. €œThose instincts for someone as young as he is and was only drafted a few weeks ago, is pretty exciting.€

The preseason for Haliburton, and all NBA rookies this season, is essentially serving as his Summer League and he is using the time to ask questions and learn. What is different about Haliburton is that he is already grasping what the team is trying to do from a scheme perspective instead of having to focus solely on memorizing plays, something not so common in rookies. His basketball instincts are getting attention among his teammates and the coaching staff.

€œTy has been great. He's been great. He's been a leader since he stepped in,€ said Richaun Holmes. €œHe does a great job pushing the pace, he pushes us on the defensive end. He's always in the passing lanes, putting pressure on the ball. He's been playing great and he's going to be a huge part of this team going forward.€

In the immediate future, Haliburton has some goals for himself.

€œJust making shots, but that will come, I'm not tripping off anything. And just keep getting paint touches. I'm at my best when I'm getting into the paint, keeping guys honest, finishing at the rim, or dishing out of there,€ he said.

He knows that if he's coming off the bench he needs to serve as an energy guy. He also wants to get the team out in transition more when he is on the floor and learn his spots on the floor where he feels the best. He sees how De'Aaron Fox knows where opponents want to get to on the floor and certain schemes they try to run and he wants to get to that point. He wants to know sets like the back of his hand.

€œAs a fan I know some of that, but obviously there's a whole other level to get to,€ he said.

There may be a whole other level to a lot of things when it comes to this young man's game.

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Aykis16
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Nostradumbass 13
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Nostradumbass 13
December 14, 2020 10:17 am

Was definitely impressed with how poised he looked yesterday after a somewhat disappointing / hesitant performance the first go-round. It’s easy to forget, but these guys were drafted not even a month ago and they’re already seeing action against NBA players. I’m looking forward to seeing why Tyrese and the other rookies can do once they have some more time and experience under their belts.

RORDOG
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December 14, 2020 10:17 am

lol we need to be able to past images without getting the URL wall

Last edited 1 year ago by RORDOG
RORDOG
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December 14, 2020 10:19 am
Reply to  RORDOG

ROY odds

Screenshot_2020-12-14 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds Ball Is The Early Fave.png
SPTSJUNKIE
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December 14, 2020 11:02 am
Reply to  RORDOG

Some of those are wild to me.

I could see Obi or Hayes getting a ton of usage. Wiseman having a great season surrounded by other stars.

But Ball and Edwards (especially) are going to have to share usage with Graham / Rozier and Towns / Russell / Culver. I could still see an argument for Ball, but I Edwards in particular seems like a bit of a longshot.

Timmy_13
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December 14, 2020 11:05 am
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

It might be because Ball has all the hype going into the season.

SPTSJUNKIE
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December 14, 2020 11:15 am
Reply to  Timmy_13

Agreed, if they want to coax bets, then it makes sense. Ball probably has a lot of backers.

If I had to give a quick handicap based on likelihood – I am looking for high usage players or guys who can put up monster stats and I’d think a rough order would be:

Wiseman
Hayes
Toppin (like him less as a player, but stats could be there)
Ball
Okoro
Haliburton
Edwards
Lewis (depending on what happens with Bledsoe)
Quickley & Poku (super dark horses, but plenty of usage to be had in OKC)

The wild card is how are the ROY voters growing and how many understand efficiency and impact. Are we starting to get enough young blood and education that they might vote for say Haliburton if he averages 10-5-6 and has a 1.5 RPM and 57% TS over say Toppin if he averages 18-10-3 but with a -1.0 RPM and 52% TS. Even those are just rough examples, but voters have typically leaned towards the latter.

Timmy_13
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December 14, 2020 12:18 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

The common average fan probably wouldn’t even mess around with advanced stats. However, it seems like more and more people are looking into it.

I agree with you that If Obi puts up those kinds of flashy stats, he will probably most likely get ROY but Hali would be the better player in the future.

BeTheBall
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December 14, 2020 12:15 pm
Reply to  Timmy_13

Yeah, and in the end I just don’t see ROY going to a player that scores 21 ppg on 35 shot attempts.

andy_sims
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December 14, 2020 12:28 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

That’s known as the “Tim Hardway, Jr. Ratio.”

RandyBreuersNeckHair
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December 14, 2020 10:28 am

Haliburton looked so comfortable last night. Such a well rounded game. I’m very excited about him. Lil Magic.

CarinaM707
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December 14, 2020 10:37 am

Such great feel for the game. As long as Tyrese is playing plenty of minutes, I’ll be excited to watch Kings basketball this season.

SPTSJUNKIE
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December 14, 2020 11:04 am
Reply to  CarinaM707

Fox isn’t quite the natural passer that Haliburton is. But there was a definite uptick in ball movement when Fox and Haliburton were on the floor together.

Hopefully, just having multiple players with a good to great basketball IQ and who are looking for their teammates leads to less ISO ball and a more advanced offense this season.

Timmy_13
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December 14, 2020 11:06 am
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Now only if we get Cade, and then Bates lol

SPTSJUNKIE
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December 14, 2020 11:07 am
Reply to  Timmy_13

If we get Cade – this team is going to be a playoff team very quickly.

A Fox-Haliburton-Cade lineup would be dangerous with even passable, role playing big men. And if Bagley develops…

BestHyperboleEver
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December 14, 2020 11:41 am
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

That said, I think there would be decent debate about whether a Fox – Haliburton – Cade lineup would be more effective overall than a Haliburton – Hield – Cade lineup.

RAP87
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December 14, 2020 11:52 am

Yeah personally I would prefer the latter to be honest. If we luck out and get the #1 pick in 2021, I would try and move Fox for another top 10 pick + future picks.

Hali + Cade would be an awesome backcourt that can lead us to the playoffs.

deepshot22
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December 14, 2020 12:00 pm
Reply to  RAP87

As a Fox lover, I’ve thought about this too. I even hope we get Cade and trade Fox for a strong draft package, despite my Fox fandom.

SPTSJUNKIE
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December 14, 2020 12:04 pm

Fair, but would think you would just take Cade and figure it out.

Also, defensively, it would probably be better.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 14, 2020 3:28 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Oh yeah, what I said should in no way impact who they select. Honestly, I don’t there’s ever a time or a team that couldn’t use a Cade Cunningham. A team could have LeBron, Luka, Kawhi, Butler, and Tatum and they should still take Cunningham 1st.

Timmy_13
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December 14, 2020 12:22 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I too hope Bagley develops but at a slower pace so we can give him a team-friendly contract; and then at Year 3 of rebuild we just go all out. By that time Portland, Golden State, Clippers would be on their twilight.

Reality notwithstanding, I hope our *future lineup would be:

Fox-Hali-Cade-Bates-Bagley or any other iteration with Cade and Bates as our core.

Last edited 1 year ago by Timmy_13
ManilaBayCleanerCrew
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December 14, 2020 5:39 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

That’s big IF for Bagley. Fortunately, we have Whiteside.

CarinaM707
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December 14, 2020 12:20 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I hope to see some Fox/Buddy/Hali/Barnes/Holmes or Bagley.
I want Fox and Hali surrounded by a couple shooters and a bouncy big for lobs.

I for sure would like our young guys to earn some playing time, but I do want to see Tyrese get some good minutes with our vets.

Peja
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December 14, 2020 10:38 am

I was coming into the preseason expecting to be excited about Haliburton’s play making on the offensive side, but I have been really impressed with him defensively. I was not expecting him to be getting so many deflections and steals so quickly.

SPTSJUNKIE
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December 14, 2020 11:06 am
Reply to  Peja

Agree, he may not be a lockdown man defender, but his awareness and anticipation are already making him a valuable team defender.

Have always said, that while a Ron Artest type of wing defender is great. On some level, individual defenses tends to be overrated, while team defense and rotations are underrated.

This isn’t to say that individual defense isn’t important as well (it is), but a lot of fans and analysts even treat it like the it’s the primary way defense is played. But teams are very good about hunting for good matchups, running P&Rs, or getting the defense off balance. Having guys who can guard multiple players, rotate well, help and get back to their man, and communicate is more important than simply being a good man defender.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 14, 2020 3:33 pm
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I wrote a very similar, though not worded as well, comment a few days ago.

SPTSJUNKIE
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December 14, 2020 4:05 pm

Great minds think alike. But so do mediocre minds. Either way, it seems we fall into the same category 🙂

AirmaxPG
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December 14, 2020 11:18 am

I think Hali’s game is excellent in today’s NBA. A better shooting, possibly better defending Lonzo Ball… sign me up!

I’d like to see a Hali/Buddy/Barnes/Bjelly/Holmes lineup this year. Hali + 3 versatile shooters and a lob target big man.

I like Fox, but I’m curious how we could do with a pass-first point guard running with those guys.

Sir_tajj
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December 14, 2020 11:20 am

What I really appreciate about his game, based on college and the two preseason games, is that he seems to always find a way to contribute. We’ve had too many rookies that, if €œX€ isn’t working for them, you wouldn’t even know they were on the floor. Haliburton has this unique ability to be in the right place at the right time. On offense, if he doesn’t have the ball, he is usually open for a catch and shoot. Always moving.He somehow know who to pass to before the ball even gets to him and on defense, that’s what im really excited about.

also, Kyle looks buff! He’s always been a shooter but if he can be half way decent on defense, I’d love to see Hali, buddy and guy on the floor for stretches.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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December 14, 2020 11:33 am

I’m excited to see him grow and his potential. Here’s hoping he turns into something special.

andy_sims
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December 14, 2020 12:21 pm

He may just be what we thought he was, which is glorious. He’s got the tools to be an effective player for a while, and he isn’t entirely dependent on athleticism, so his game may age well.

Timmy_13
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December 14, 2020 12:26 pm

Not gonna lie, I love this kid.

TheFifthMookie
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December 14, 2020 12:29 pm

I’m 10000% on board the Tyrese Halliburton bandwagon!

Gonna be great watching this kid get his feet under him in the NBA this year. Love how cerebral he is and how he knows where to be and what to do so often.

SMF-PDXConnection
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December 14, 2020 12:34 pm

I didn’t know much about him going into the draft, but I’m quickly becoming a fan of his.

What’s remarkable to me is that he managed to fall to 12 when there were several teams ahead of us genuinely in need of a point guard. I was truly baffled with the Knicks, even with the hometown angle and Toppin.

Tunel_21
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December 14, 2020 1:58 pm

His game reminds me of Malcolm Brogdon just in a Reggie Miller body

Want2win
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December 14, 2020 4:29 pm

It was nice to watch him play.. I enjoyed how effortless it looked, he didn’t seem to rush or force things..the game didn’t speed up on him when he got in

Kingsguru21
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December 14, 2020 5:48 pm

I still don’t have high expectations for Rese out of the gate at this point, but I do hope that he can figure things out sooner than I expected.

But that’s the danger of preseason: You don’t know if the guy is real or not. But….the Rese I have seen seems like the real deal. That would be awesome if he were very good from the jump. It’s been a long time since the Kings had that in a player this early.

ForKingsandCountry
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December 14, 2020 7:51 pm

I’m very excited at the prospect that we just did the simple smart thing and picked a player who is going to be very good for this team for many years to come. It has happened so rarely the last 15 years I’m genuinely excited to see where this goes.

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