Kings

Kings' Haliburton won't forget teams that passed on him

Kings
Kings' Tyrese Haliburton

Tyrese Haliburton has no shortage of fuel for his competitive fire.

The Kings rookie admitted to team TV broadcasters Mark Jones and Doug Christie that he "for sure" remembers all 11 franchises that passed on selecting him in the 2020 NBA Draft, taking his queue from the greats who preceded him who used "little things like that to fuel them."

"This has been a year of proving people wrong, and my career is going to be a career of proving people wrong," Haliburton said Tuesday in the second quarter of the Kings' game against the Utah Jazz at Golden1 Center.

"Like, that's cool for me, but I know there's a lot more room to grow."

The 12th overall pick in November's draft has been among the most impressive rookies in his class. The guard has averaged 13 points (third among rookies) and 5.3 assists (second) per game, looking experienced beyond his years en route to shooting 47.2 percent from the field, 40.9 percent on 3-pointers and 85.7 percent from the free-throw line.

Although Haliburton has hit the ground running in Sacramento, it has been an adjustment from his time in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State was a consistent winner during his two collegiate seasons, whereas the Kings are 25-33 with Haliburton in the lineup this season.

Haliburton said those losses serve as motivation, too, especially last month's 49-point defeat at the hands of the Utah Jazz.

"I'll never forget that for the rest of my life. Ever," Haliburton said. "I've never been beat like that, so that's something I'll never forget for the rest of my life. I've used that for a lot of these losses throughout the season."

 
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The Kings' play-in tournament hopes are hanging by a thread, but Haliburton has emerged as a backcourt building block alongside De'Aaron Fox.

If Haliburton's long memory is any indication, he'll have no problem motivating himself to remain a key foundational piece in Sacramento.