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Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton declares for NBA draft

Kansas v Iowa State

AMES, IA - JANUARY 5: Tyrese Haliburton #22 of the Iowa State Cyclones signals 3 points after making a three point basket in the second half of play against the Kansas Jayhawks at Hilton Coliseum on January 5, 2019 in Ames, Iowa. The Iowa State Cyclones won 77-60 over the Kansas Jayhawks. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

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Tyrese Haliburton will bypass his final two seasons in college and declare for the NBA draft.

Iowa State’s star point guard announced on Tuesday that he is declaring for the NBA draft, and the expectation is that he will remain in the draft regardless of how the predraft process plays out. Haliburton is projected as a top ten pick and emerged this season as one of the elite point guard prospects in this class.

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I have Haliburton as one of the top five NBA prospects that played college basketball this season, and the top point guard prospect. His numbers jump off the page -- 15.2 ppg, 6.5 apg, 5.9 rpg, 41.9% 3PT -- and at 6-foot-5, he’s a lead guard with terrific vision that can throw every pass a point guard is going to be asked to make. He’s an excellent three-point shooter that has positional size and has shown himself to be, at the very least, adequate as an on- and off-ball defender. He was the best player on the floor for Team USA at the U-19 World Championships over the summer. All of that adds up.

If there is a concern with Haliburton, it’s his physical tools. He’s not an explosive athlete and, at 175 pounds, there are valid concerns about how well he is going to handle the rigors of getting to the rim in the NBA. He also has a slow, funky release on his jumper — think Shawn Marion. Will he be able to get that shot off at the next level? I’m not that worried about the fractured wrist he suffered last week. He’ll be just fine.

I’m high on Haliburton because, after seeing the way that elite passers like Luka Doncic, Ja Morant and Trae Young have thrived early in their NBA career, I’m willing to take the risk on a 6-foot-5 point guard in a year where the opportunity of rolling the dice at the top of this 2020 NBA mock draft is relatively low.

If there is a question mark with Haliburton, it’s the fractured wrist that he suffered late in the season.
“Once I’m healthy and able to start the rehab process to get my wrist back to where it needs to be, that’s when I’ll start working out,” he said in a teleconference after announcing his decision. “It’s hard right now. All the gyms are pretty much shut down. It’s going to have to be getting creative, finding ways to train at home.

“I’m glad that my family is healthy as of right now, for sure.”