Tyrese Haliburton has played ‘a larger part in winning’ than Trey Young and Luka Dončić


Highlights The Indiana Pacers have had a surprising and successful start to the season, emerging as contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Tyrese Haliburton, the Pacers’ point guard, has played a key role in their success and is being considered one of the best point guards in the league.
Haliburton’s impressive statistics and impact on the team have solidified his status as an ascending star in the NBA.
Life for the Indiana Pacers right now is pretty good, while also being pretty surprising. Currently, one of the stand-out teams in the Eastern Conference and led by their talisman Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana have entered the conversation for being genuine contenders to come out of the East based on this early part of the season. From an individual perspective, though, the 23-year-old’s ascension to stardom this season has seen him become one of the best point-guards in the league, with NBA writer Mark Medina arguing that Haliburton has played ‘a larger part in winning’ than elite-level guards like Trey Young and Luka Dončić.
Indiana Pacers’ overnight ascension to the top
Last season, the Indiana Pacers looked a young team with budding potential, but with the sheer strength of the rest of the teams in the Eastern Conference, they were unable to execute on the floor, thus failing to even make it into the play-in tournament spots during the 2022-23 season and finishing with a 35-47 losing record. They had a relatively quiet off-season, picking up only Bruce Brown Jr. off the back of a title-winning campaign with the Denver Nuggets during free-agency on a two-year, $45 million deal to add some championship-proven their starting line-up. Furthermore, they traded for Obi Toppin, formerly of the New York Knicks, in exchange for two future second-round picks as they looked to strengthen their relatively young and inexperienced rotation.
Although roster moves were few, team chemistry since their arrival has been astronomical, with the Pacers now finding themselves competing with the best teams at the top of the standings, currently occupying fourth place in the East behind the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. They currently don the best offense in the association, with an offensive rating of 122.0, but their defensive rating currently leaves little to be desired, with their rating of 118.5 the third-worst in the league. Nevertheless, they have still managed to win seven of their first 11 game to start this year, and their main catalyst for success has been fifth-year point-guard, Tyrese Haliburton, who has come off a year in which he earned his first All-Star call up. His impact has been so influential on his team, that this has led to some experts even suggesting that the 23-year-old could be a dark horse in this season’s MVP race, with his numbers so far projecting him to become only the 10th member of the NBA’s 50-40-90 shooting club in league history.
Medina – ‘Without a doubt’, Haliburton is one of the best PG’s in the league
When posed with the question of whether he thought Haliburton should be considered as one of the best point guards currently in the NBA, Medina didn’t hesitate in saying yes, and his reasoning for this largely stems around his assist numbers, and how his performances have led to the Pacers emerging as one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
“Without a doubt. One of the key things is that he leads the league in assists with 12 and a half. That’s over point guards like Trey Young and Luka Dončić. Clearly, Tyrese Haliburton has been able to play a larger part in winning than either of those players. Now, in fairness, Indiana [Pacers] has constructed a better roster around Tyrese Halliburton than some of the other point guards, so I wouldn’t quite put Haliburton above Steph Curry, or Luka Dončić, but Tyrese is right up there.”
Stellar season so far
Undoubtedly, Tyrese Haliburton is an ascending star in this league, and he has the statistics behind him to prove it. While he has always been a solid contributor throughout the early parts of his career, it is in his fifth season that he has made such a remarkable leap in his development, now cementing himself in the conversation for being one of the best pure point-guards in the entire NBA.
Tyrese Haliburton – NBA Career Statistics Minutes Played 33.1 Points 16.6 Assists 8.2 Rebounds 3.6 Steals 1.6 Blocks 0.5 All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.
Through his first 10 games of this campaign, the Iowa State alum has averaged 24.7 points on 52.8 percent field goal shooting and 43.6 percent from the three-point line. He is also averaging a league-leading 12.6 assists per game, while also picking up 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals. Furthermore, he is statistically the best offensive player in the league, racking up an offensive rating of 126.8, with his new teammate Bruce Brown following shortly behind in second place with a rating of 125.2, while also leading the league in assist percentage, contributing to 49.6 percent of the Pacers’ assists. This has led him to boast the second-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the league with 6.0, behind only Mike Conley, 8.0, of the Minnesota Timberwolves. While Luka Dončić is posting better scoring numbers, averaging 30.7 points per game, he falls behind Haliburton in player impact estimate score where the six-foot-five guard is fourth overall in that category with a 19.0 score, while Luka Magic is fifth with 18.6. Additionally, while Trae Young is close behind in the assist leaders’ standings with 10.9 per game, Haliburton’s assists have created 33.6 points per game, while the Atlanta Hawks star’s assists has only lead to 28.6 points a game.
Still only 23-years-old, Tyrese Haliburton’s ascension to becoming one of the top point-guards in the league is not yet finished, and while he has always been a solid contributor for his team, this year he has taken it up a gear and is largely responsible for the Indiana Pacers’ 7-4 record. As such, they are currently firmly in contention for an automatic playoff place, and they will be hoping that, via Haliburton’s leadership on the court, they will remain in that position or greater by the time the end of the regular season nears.
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