Next up in our NBA Draft preview for the Atlanta Hawks is Iowa State’s, Tyrese Haliburton. With just over a week left until the NBA Draft, the Hawks still hold the 6th pick and could go in multiple directions. One of their most glaring needs is a reliable guard to backup and play alongside Trae Young in the backcourt.
The 20-year-old Haliburton comes into the draft after a great season at Iowa State, averaging 15 points, 6 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 2.5 steals per game with good shooting percentages. Haliburton clearly made a leap in his sophomore season, becoming the best player for the Cyclones and one of the best players in the Big 12.
- Passing/Court Vision: Haliburton and his big frame (6’5, 6’8 wingspan) is an excellent passer, and he excelled at Iowa State as the lead guard and playmaker. He can make a difference within the Hawks offense as they don’t have another guard besides Trae Young, who can make plays off the dribble.
- 3-Point Shooting: Despite his awkward form, Haliburton is an above-average three-point shooter, which he demonstrated in college, knocking down 42% of his three-pointers in the 19-20 season. Playing alongside Trae Young is a shooter’s dream. He draws so much attention when he penetrates the paint that spot up snipers always need to be ready. Haliburton is a more versatile player than Kevin Huerter, who can knock down threes off the catch but doesn’t provide as much off the dribble.
- Basketball IQ: Haliburton has a high basketball IQ, meaning he almost always makes the right play. He is a willing rebounder, passer, and defender while doing all the little things coaches love. Basketball IQ is one of those unmeasurable stats, and Haliburton is a smart player who will fit into whatever role the Hawks want him in.
- Lacks Athleticism: Not the most athletic guard in this draft, Haliburton lacks the burst and speed needed to be a primary creator. He uses his height and ball fakes to create space and make plays.
- Finishing at the Rim: The lack of athleticism limits his finishing ability as well. Too often, Haliburton did not initiate contact and finish strong at the rim. He needs to become comfortable finishing around the rim at the NBA level.
- Man to Man Defense: When looking at the tape, two things stand out: 1) his defensive stance is far too upright and on his heels. Quick guards will blow by him off the dribble and cause him problems. 2) Haliburton is slow coming off and fighting through screens. He needs to adjust the angles at which he fights through screens.
Haliburton has potential as the second guard in the Hawks offense alongside Trae Young. He’s tall and has a long frame for the 2-guard spot. He’s a good spot-up shooter and can facilitate the offense when Trae Young is not on the floor. He possesses a very high basketball IQ on the offensive end and will help the Hawks offensive efficiency.
Haliburton fills a big need for Atlanta, which is a second facilitator on offense. The on/off numbers for Trae Young were not good, and the Hawks need another lead guard to make plays and shots. Haliburton can step in and fill that role.