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Why Haliburton could fit what the Kings need in NBA draft

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  • This is the fifth installment of a series breaking down the potential selections for the Sacramento Kings with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

With a new front office comes a new game plan. While general manager Monte McNair doesn’t consider the Kings a complete teardown, he will want to put his own stamp on the team moving forward.

What does that mean for restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic? Will McNair retain sharpshooter Buddy Hield or make a major move in his first offseason on the job?

These are important questions for the Kings. If either of the team’s shooting guards aren’t on the roster next season, it opens up the possibility for McNair to address the position in the draft.

Versatile enough to play the one or the two, Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton is a player the Kings would have to think long and hard about, especially if he drops down to No. 12 where they select in the upcoming draft.

Here is a look at how Haliburton grades out as a prospect and some thoughts on whether he would work for the Kings when the draft rolls around on Nov. 18.


Stats: 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.5 steaks, 50.4% FG, 41.9% 3-point FG

Age: 20 Height: 6-foot-5 Weight: 175 Wingspan: 6-foot-7.5

Haliburton is a lanky guard that has potential to play either the one or the two at the NBA level. He has a solid wingspan and a frame that can take on weight as he matures.

Despite being limited to just 22 games due to a wrist injury during his sophomore season at Iowa State, Haliburton made a major impression with his ability to do just about everything on the court.


He scored a career-high 25 points against Michigan in November and he managed to drop in a 22-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple-double against TCU in January. If he can stuff the stat sheet at the NBA level as he did at Iowa State, some team is going to get a steal.


Versatility is probably Haliburton’s best quality. He can play either guard position and he’s also worked as both a primary offensive initiator and as an off-ball scorer.

Haliburton can put the ball in the bucket at all three levels. His shot is interesting, to say the least, but it goes in. He knocked down 42.6 percent from 3-point range over two seasons and he especially is efficient from the corners.

His jumper is solid, especially off the catch-and-shoot. He also has a floater and he is effective around the basket, shooting over 50 percent from the field overall.

While he can be flashy as a passer, he’s also very efficient. He finished last season with a 6.5-to-2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio and he doesn’t force the action. He has a natural feel for the game, good court vision and he makes his teammates better.

Haliburton posted an excellent 35.3 percent assist percentage, which is even more impressive when you consider his usage rate was only 20.1 percent. He basically posted the same assist percentage that De’Aaron Fox did this season for Sacramento with a 10 percent decrease in usage.

On the defensive end, Haliburton plays the passing lanes well and projects as a strong team defender. He’ll need to get stronger and tighten up his footwork, but he may also develop into an above-average individual defender.

Haliburton posted 2.5 steals per game and .7 blocks, which are both really good numbers for a point/combo guard. His 5.9 rebounds per game are well above average for his position as well.

Lastly, he is a leader on the court and one of the better interviews in the draft process. He comes across as a confident and mature player and there is a good chance he fits in well with an NBA locker room right away.

RELATED: 2020 NBA mock draft 17.0: Projecting first-round picks after lottery


The injury is a concern, although he’s had extra time to heal. There are also some concerns about the sustainability of his shooting numbers.

Haliburton has an unorthodox release, although he has a consistent shot point and he gets the ball out of his hands quickly. There are some flashes of former Kings shooting guard Kevin Martin in his mechanics or maybe even Shawn Marion.

While he shoots 82.2 percent from the line, he isn’t a player that draws or plays through contact. He averaged just two free throw attempts in 36.7 minutes per game, which will limit his ability to reach his scoring potential.

He’s a solid, but not elite athlete and he might struggle against some of the quicker points in the league. He also needs to get stronger if he hopes to hold off some of the bigger guards or help out on the switch against wings.


Haliburton's handles are solid, but he’ll need to improve to keep up with NBA defenders.

Fit with Kings

There is a lot to like about Haliburton. He might fit alongside Fox in the backcourt or as a combo guard off the bench for Sacramento if either Hield or Bogdanovic move on.

He brings a playmaking mindset the Kings could really use and his ability to run the break and find his teammates in transition is extremely impressive.

While he doesn’t play with the physicality that the Kings need, there is still a ton to like about Haliburton. He is a great communicator both on and off the court and he projects as another very high character player for a team working on their culture.

Whether Haliburton slides all the way down to No. 12 is also a major question. He’s interviewed with the Warriors, Knicks and Pistons, who all hold positions in the top eight. He would also have to get past teams like Washington and Phoenix, who both might be looking for guard help.

In a league where young combo guards like Tyler Herro and Donte DiVincenzo are making incredible impacts for high-level playoff teams, the Kings would be crazy not to select a similar player type in Haliburton if he falls to them.

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