When teams are without their key players, it’s up to others to step up to the plate and take advantage.
For the Kings, that player has been 6-foot-5 guard Tyrese Haliburton.
With nearly half of Sacramento’s roster in health and safety protocol, Tyrese has been in the driver’s seat.
De’Aaron Fox, the team’s leading scorer, is among those sidelined. And Ty is making the most of the opportunity.
Since Fox’s absence on the court three games ago, Tyrese has averaged 24 points, 10.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds.
He collected his third straight double-double in Monday’s 113-98 loss to the Warriors, with more than 20 points and at least 10 assists in the last three games.
- vs. Grizzlies (Dec. 17): 21 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the field, 3-for-5 from the 3-point-line, nine assists, eight rebounds and three steals
- vs. Spurs (Dec. 19): 27 points on 12-for-19 shooting from the field, 3-for-5 from the 3-point-line, 11 assists, four rebounds and two steals
- vs. Warriors (Dec. 21): 24 points on 8-for-18 shooting from the field, 2-for-4 from the 3-point line, 11 assists, four rebounds and three steals
Despite the loss on Monday, interim coach Doug Christie praised Ty’s performance and his ability to step up while Sacramento is down numbers.
As the leading scorer for the Kings on Monday, Golden State quickly recognized his offensive game and adapted.
The Warriors ran a box-and-1 against Tyrese to limit him -- and it worked out in their favor.
“I thought I was playing well, they switched it up like good teams do, made me have different reads, made different guys have to make plays, it worked out for them,” Tyrese told reporters after the loss. “Kudos to them, they made a good adjustment.”
Christie said the adjustment to run a box-and-1 was “the ultimate sign of respect.”
While this opportunity has given Tyrese a chance to shine, the young guard said it’s been a great chance to learn from those around him.
“Obviously we’re down numbers so the ball is in my hands a lot more. I’m just trying to play basketball and make the right read at all times. And just learn,” he said. “Take this time to learn against great players, obviously playing against one of the best point guards to ever play the game of basketball, one of the best defenders to ever play the game of basketball, you get to learn and get to experience that, that’s going to help my growth.”
And when Fox and the rest of the squad get back on the hardwood, the amount of playing time Tyrese will receive is unknown.
Nonetheless, Ty will enjoy the moment while it’s here.
“It’s all a process, it’s a process when they went away having to step up, it’s a process when they coming back, staying aggressive, stay being myself but the understanding we got more guys,” he said. “Kinda having to figure out their balances as guys start to come back, but for now it is what it is."