Tyrese Haliburton's first season in the NBA was a major success, as the young guard was named an All-Rookie First-Team player and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting.
During an appearance on the "Deuce and Mo" podcast, Haliburton was asked what his first "holy s--t" moment was in his NBA career. Haliburton spoke about a game early in his rookie season in which he was thrust into a leading role after an injury.
"One that sticks out is the Chicago game at home, (De'Aaron) Fox had got hurt in like the second or third quarter and didn't come back, and it was early in the year, but they gave me the ball and were like 'just go ahead,' " Haliburton said. "I swear like the whole second half, we ran drag, pick-and-roll, I was making every decision whether it was like kick outs, or pocket passes to Richaun (Holmes) or floaters or finishes at the rim, I felt like I was involved in every decision out being made and it was so early in the year. But after that, my confidence was through the roof because obviously coach Walton and his staff trusted me to do the job and I thought I did it pretty successfully, so from there it was pretty smooth sailing."
In that 128-124 win over the Chicago Bulls, Haliburton scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter after Fox went down in the first quarter with a hamstring strain. Haliburton had missed the previous two games with a wrist injury, yet ended up playing the entire fourth quarter and hit a big shot and got a big steal in the final seconds to secure a Kings win.
That confidence seemed to work wonders for Haliburton, as he built off that effort and ended up being a crucial part of the Kings' rotation the rest of the way after being selected 12th overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.
He and Fox form one of the best young guard tandems in the NBA, and with the addition of defensive stalwart Davion Mitchell from this year's draft, Sacramento has a solid young core as they look to snap a 15-year playoff drought.