Everything You Need To Know About Tyrese Haliburton

Tyrese Haliburton is one of the best combinations of shooting and playmaking in this draft. His overall versatility makes him an early lottery pick.

The NBA backcourt continues to evolve and consists of players who don't have a traditional skillset or position.

Tyrese Haliburton is another young combo guard who ranks at the top of the draft guide because of his ability to initiate the offense, score off-ball, and defend multiple positions.

After a freshman season where Haliburton acted mostly as an off-ball shooter, he took on a much more significant role as a sophomore by working as the team's primary ball-handler.

This increase in responsibility led to a significant jump in his stats as he averaged 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 2.5 steals while shooting 42% from three on over five attempts.

When watching Haliburton play, he immediately dazzles you with his playmaking ability. He is one of the country's best players when running in transition, and he has vastly improved his pick-and-roll navigation.

When you factor in Haliburton's assists to his points per possession (PPP) numbers, he is one of the most efficient players in the country by scoring 1.382 PPP (98th percentile), per Synergy.

Haliburton is a special player when he runs in transition. Due to his size and length, Haliburton can grab a defensive rebound and immediately start the break instead of relying on a teammate to secure it and then find him. This skill speeds up the process and allows Haliburton to see the whole floor from the start.

When Haliburton looks to score in transition, he scores 1.39 PPP (93rd percentile). His speed and length are a significant asset when he attacks in transition, but his actual weapon is his innate, creative playmaking. His already gaudy transition scoring number improves to 1.766 PPP (99th percentile) when you factor in his assists.

He does a great job of manipulating defenders with his eyes and has the vision and accuracy to deliver no-look passes that completely fool defenses, as we see below.

After securing the defensive rebound, Haliburton is eager to get out and run. As he reaches half-court, Haliburton is basically in a three-on-one situation where he only must beat the last defender. Haliburton knows he has his big man filling the lane and his teammate leaking out for a corner three. Knowing that his team shoots just 29.5% from three, Haliburton wants the easy layup. To get his big man open, Haliburton leaves his feet and stares down his teammate in the corner. This manipulation moves the defender that direction, and Haliburton delivers a perfect no-look pass for an easy layup.

I'm generally against the jump pass, but in situations with passers like Haliburton, it can be instrumental. If Haliburton only had one option, it easily could've resulted in a turnover. Since he had two options and needed to move the defender, the jump paired with the stare down cemented the idea in the defender's mind that Haliburton was passing to the corner.

Most of the magic happens when Haliburton attacks in transition, but he also is deadly with his hit-ahead passes. These scenarios show off his great touch and vision.

It is rare to get this easy of a basket after allowing a score. Since Haliburton continually has his eyes up, he sees that the defense is slow to get back and that his teammate is streaking towards the lane. Instead of walking it up, he immediately lobs a pass over the retreating defenders to set up an easy layup.

Creating in transition is a treasured skill, but the half-court offense dominates most of the game. Thankfully, this doesn't affect Haliburton's effectiveness. Haliburton's team scored 1.283 PPP (93rd percentile) in the half-court offense when factoring in his assist and scoring.

The pick-and-roll is one of the most common NBA actions, so if a lead guard is unable to create out of that, their offensive impact is minimal. The ball handler must read his defender, the screener's defender, the off-ball defenders, and his teammate's movement based on where he attacks. Finding the roll-man or a spot-up shooter are two of the most crucial decisions the ball handler must make.

This season, Haliburton did a solid job of setting up his roll-man for 1.061 PPP (63rd percentile). Below, Haliburton shows off his patience, touch, and ability to read the defense. As Haliburton begins his dribble at the top of the key, his teammate quickly flips his screen. This move immediately makes the screener's defender out of position and gives Haliburton a path to penetrate.

Once he uses the screen, Haliburton keeps his defender on his hip, which forces the screener's defender to recover and collapse on the drive. The screener has a clear lane to the rim, but the weak side defender is supposed to rotate down to cut that off. If he makes this right rotation, Haliburton has an open teammate in the corner. Instead, Haliburton recognizes that the weakside defender isn't fully committing to the rotation, so he throws a soft lob for an easy dunk.

The whole point of the pick-and-roll is to make defenses uncomfortable and force them to make an accurate switch or rotation. When the weakside defender makes the rotation to cut off the easy lob, finding the open shooters has become more critical than ever.

When looking at Haliburton's assist numbers of just .526 PPP (8th percentile) when he finds spot-up shooters out of the pick-and-roll, you initially think that he struggles to find them or puts them in bad situations. The real story, though, is that Haliburton was on a team of just terrible shooters. I previously mentioned his team shot 29.5% from three, but when he would find a spot-up shooter out of the pick-and-roll, his teammates shot just 22.3%.

This stat is an excellent example of how misleading base numbers can be because Haliburton has an incredible passing vision. Once NBA level shooters surround him, I fully expect his teammates to thrive like they do in the below clip.

As Haliburton sets up the offense, his teammate decides to slip the screen. Since the screener's defender is so high, the screener has an open lane to attack. Haliburton could drop a pocket pass to him, but based on his lack of skill and ground he'd still need to cover, it isn't the best option. Haliburton sees the weakside defender start to rotate to the roll-man, but he needs him to commit fully. Haliburton then uses a quick hang dribble, which freezes the screener's initial defender and makes the weakside defender think the pocket pass is coming. This slight hesitation creates an extra step of space for the corner shooter before Haliburton fires a one-handed live-dribble pass.

Haliburton is a high-level playmaker in any facet of the offense. To make a substantial impact on a rotation, though, he will need to prove that he can create for himself. As a scorer, Haliburton has struggled in the pick-and-roll and isolation as he scored just .637 PPP (31st percentile) and .684 PPP (36th percentile), respectively.

A primary reason for these unremarkable numbers is his struggle when shooting off the dribble where he scored just .684 PPP (35th percentile). Haliburton has a very unorthodox shooting release. While he is one of the best outside shooters in this class, this unconventional form makes it incredibly easy to contest once defenders get into him.

Even though Haliburton has struggled to shoot off the dribble, I still have faith that he can create for himself when he attacks the rim. Once he gets into the paint, Haliburton's length and soft touch are on full display. He scored 1.211 PPP (67th percentile) around the rim and .897 PPP (74th percentile) on runners. By getting into the lane, Haliburton can use his length more effectively to finish around defenders and use his threat of playmaking to move defenders to create for himself.

By attacking the rim more, Haliburton will inevitably create more drive-and-kick situations. Defenses will have to respect his drives, which will lead to them collapsing on him, leaving shooters open.

Below we see how Haliburton's attack creates an easy three. He initially blows past his defender, which forces the weakside defender to rotate and cut off the drive. Haliburton is then in a similar situation to the transition clip we saw earlier, where he just needs to read the defender and make a play. As Haliburton leaves his feet, his initial target is the corner shooter. The defender reads Haliburton's eyes and rotates that direction. Thanks to Haliburton's passing vision and accuracy, he can adjust mid-air to fire a perfect pass to the shooter at the top of the arc.

Haliburton's outside shooting is still the most lethal aspect of his scoring repertoire despite the unorthodox shooting form. His deficiencies shooting off the dribble are legitimate, but they seem to diminish when defenders go under the screen.

If given space, Haliburton will make defenses pay from outside. As time goes on, teams will adjust their defense accordingly, which will create issues for Haliburton to shoot off the dribble. This limitation doesn't diminish Haliburton's shooting ability, though.

A lot of Haliburton's shooting production will come when he is spotting up. This season, Haliburton scored 1.431 PPP (99th percentile) in spot-up situations. As we can see in the video below, Haliburton has an unlimited range that is so impressive. Defenses will have to guard him tightly because, with his range and ability to score 1.493 PPP (93rd percentile) when shooting off the catch, he is always a threat to score.

Haliburton's size and length help him attack and see the floor on offense. The more significant perk, though, is how it raises his defensive ceiling.

This season, Haliburton's defensive results were erratic. With his length, Haliburton should develop into a multi-position defender. Unfortunately, he lacks the strength to do so right now. He struggles to fight through screens and play through physical opponents.

The plus side, though, is that Haliburton did an excellent job defending isolation sets and proved to be a significant off-ball threat. When defending isolation sets, Haliburton allowed just .5 PPP (84th percentile). Most of this success came against opposing guards, who he was able to use his length to suffocate.

Haliburton's length is an essential asset on defense because it allows him to give a little extra space while still recovering quickly. Additionally, his great instincts enable him to contest shots easily and a lot of the times almost beat his opponent to the top of the jump.

The most significant impact of Haliburton's defense, though, comes when he is away from the ball. His great instincts and work rate force numerous turnovers every game. He does a great job of reading opponents, jumping passing lanes, and continually working to recover on shooters and rotations.

Here we see how Haliburton essentially covers half the floor by himself. As the play begins, Haliburton starts to rotate towards the lane to help with the rolling screener. From there, Haliburton does a great job of just reading the ball handler. As the ball handler goes into his gather, Haliburton sees that he is eyeing the corner shooter. Instead of just watching, Haliburton reads his eyes and uses his length to recover and jump the passing lane for the steal.

Tyrese Haliburton may not have the highest ceiling in this draft, but he is one of the few players that I have zero doubts about having a long NBA career. Haliburton's skillset and ability to play on or off the ball make him a rare prospect who seems to be immune to the situation.

His size, versatility, playmaking, and shooting remind me of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Malcolm Brogdon. Both guards spend time as the primary ball-handler and time as an off-ball threat.

Tyrese Haliburton remains towards the top of my draft guide because of his versatility. He is one of the best playmakers in this draft, one of the best shooters in this draft, and has immense potential as a defender. Any team in need of a guard at the top of the lottery will be lucky to draft Tyrese Haliburton.

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