The Indiana Pacers have been trying to find an identity since former franchise player Paul George threw in the towel with the franchise and requested to trade to put himself in a better situation to win a championship elsewhere. The Victor Oladipo was short lived but exciting, the correlation between Victor playing at Indiana in college and playing for the actual Indiana franchise at the NBA level had a ring to it. Myles Turner was drafted and has not turned out to be the Dwight Howard-Amare Stoudemire hybrid most expected, I myself wouldn’t mind keeping him around since he’s still young but he is what he is at this point, a rim protector and big you can count on for 15-30 ponts assuming he is hitting his spot up looks from the outside.
The Pacers shockingly made a trade for Tyrese Haliburton who I honestly believed was going to be the longest tenured King since Chris Webber suited up Sacramento in the early 2000’s. Tyrese has always had an unselish nature to him even dating back to his college days, he is a more than willing passer but can get you 20-30 points if needed. I’ve heard comparisons to a taller Chris Paul which I disagree with, Paul is a more polished offensive player who has his drawbacks since he can become very ball dominant at times but Haliburton can play better within an actual system being that he plays a lot of give and go as opposed to Paul who tends to only pick up his dribble and passor shoot all in one motion. Haliburton could’ve uplifted the Kings franchise but they are more sold on building around the tandem of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis going forward.
The Pacers have several young pieces to grow with Haliburton in Chris Duarte and Oshae Brissett who were both very productive on the offensive end for them last season. Assuming the Pacers elect to not trade Buddy Hield who is further ahead in his playing career than Haliburton,Duarte,Brissett, and newly drafted Bennedict Mathurin the Pacers possess enough talent to challenge for at least the play-in tournament next season. In Haliburton we are looking at combo guard who is capable of dishing out 10-15 assists a night and carrying you offensively, I don’t know why he reminds me of Jason Kidd who in my opinion is easily one of the top 10 point guards to ever play the game and you could make the argument he is a top 5 point guard all-time.
Jason Kidd always had that unorthodox style of play but his courtvision and different array of passes was second to none. He instantly turned a Nets franchise which was in the dumps into a title contender leading them to back to back NBA Finals 2002-2003, it’s not to say that Tyrese Haliburton will replicate that same level of success because Kidd was one of the top 5 players in the game at one point and the best point guard in the league but he will be the driving force behind a turnaround in Indiana.
Chris Duarte and Buddy HIeld are both very good shot-creators and will allow Tyrese to control the tempo while also being able to play off him and score on passes out to the perimeter. Asssuming Turner remains a Pacer he is indeed a legitimate stretch 5 who will benefit from playing with a pure point guard like Tyrese, I often wish Phoenix Suns center De’Andre Ayton would have the luxury to play with a point guard that will actually feature him and not just use him as a screen setter like Chris Paul does. No knock on Chris Paul for taking away from De’Andre’s game because Monty Williams is ultimately responsible for how he uses Ayton but Haliburton’s comeup as a guard since his high-school playing days has been much different.
I thought Haliburton was so good in Sacramento I thought the Kings were getting ready to ship out De’Aaron Fox and go forward with a Tyrese Haliburton-Davion Mitchell backcourt which would have been intruguing being that Mitchell would be the gunner and Tyrese would’ve been the passer. Some say the Kings traded away Tyrese because they weren’t sold on his potential going into the future, there was also a logjam in the backcourt with Fox,Haliburton,Mitchell, and Hield which only made a trade inevitable. Tyrese deserves to be the leader of an offense, we would’ve never witnessed his talents alongside Fox being that he woud’ve had to play more of an off-ball role and focus on shooting a lot more. He has the keys in Indiana now and I think he will put on a show for the Pacers fanbase and become a star right before our own eyes.