School: Iowa State
Height/Weight: 6’5, 172 lbs.
Tyrese Haliburton is the definition of a floor general, and the savvy sophomore is one of the best point guards in all of college basketball. While known for his gifted passing ability coming into this season, Haliburton has taken his game to another level this year by becoming a go to scorer for the Cyclones as well. With the departures of Lindell Wigginton and Talen Horton-Tucker last spring, Haliburton has more than lived up to his expanded role for Iowa State.
Haliburton is a do it all point guard, and the most impressive part of his game is his extremely high basketball IQ. His smarts are on display in every facet of the game, from his decision making with the ball to his awareness on defense. He makes his teammates better on both ends of the court.
Tyrese Haliburton is arguably the best passer in the country, and both his numbers and his tape support his case. He can get into the lane whenever he wants thanks to his quickness and ability to break down defenders with both hands. Once he’s in the lane, he has an uncanny ability to find open guys thanks to his off the charts vision.
Several times a game Haliburton drives into a crowd and appears to be stuck, but he’s able to use his great vision and long arms to zip the ball across court to a wide open teammate spotting up on the perimeter. He’s deadly in the open court, always keeping his head up and finding cutting teammates, even in the tightest of windows. Haliburton has the ball in his hands all game but does a great job taking care of it, posting a 4.3 to 1 assist to turnover ratio as a freshman, and is on pace to be around 4 to 1 this year despite a much higher usage rate.
Haliburton is a very good shooter and can knock down shots both spotting up and off the dribble. His form is solid and his height helps him get his shot off just about whenever he wants, but he is also careful to never force the issue. He is especially effective off the dribble, aided by the fact that defenders respect his driving ability so much and expect him to go all the way to the rim.
Another strength of Haiburton is his size and under the radar athletic ability. His height and long arms make him an extremely tough cover for college guards. He does a nice job of finishing over the top of defenders when attacking the rim, as his length makes it difficult for help defenders to block his shot.
Haliburton is a very strong defender and has no trouble staying in front of guys thanks to his length and quick feet. His excellent awareness and high motor make him even better off the ball, as he never takes plays off and is very active jumping into passing lanes.
There are not too many glaring weaknesses in Tyrese Haliburton’s game, as he is one of the most complete players in the draft. The most obvious drawback to drafting Haliburton is his slender frame. Only weighing 172 pounds, Haliburton has a lot of room to add muscle, which he’ll need to do to have success against bigger defenders at the next level. While strength isn’t as important of a trait for modern NBA guards due to the freedom of movement rules and cut down on hand checks, Haliburton could still have a tough time facing really strong, physical defenders similar to Patrick Beverly’s archetype.
Another thing Haliburton needs to work on is speeding up the release on his jump shot. His mechanics are solid and he shoots at a great percentage, but he gets away with a slow release because of his height and length. NBA defenders will be a lot bigger and quicker than what he’s used to, so he’ll have a lot more difficulty getting his shot up unless he’s able to speed up his release.
There’s so much to like about Tyrese Haliburton, who has stepped up in a big way in an expanded role as a sophomore and improved his draft stock significantly. In a 2020 class filled with great point guards at the top of the draft, Haliburton may end up being the most accomplished college player of the group.
While he may have been a late first rounder last year, coming back for another year has paid off for Tyrese Haliburton, who has answered question marks about his scoring ability and has proven to be one of the most complete and NBA ready players in the 2020 NBA draft class. There will be some point guards taken in front of him, but Haliburton looks like a late lottery pick and could even find himself going in the top ten when it’s all said and done.
— Pat McMahon (@patmcmahonhoops) January 4, 2020