Not every projected lottery pick has always been a five-star recruit at the top of their class. Example A: Tyrese Haliburton.
In his second and final season at Iowa State, Haliburton did it all. He averaged 15.2 points, 6.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game. Such a stat line helped Haliburton earn a spot on the 2019-20 All-Big 12 team. But it wasn’t always like that. Haliburton wasn’t a top 150 recruit when he came out of high school in 2018. And though he started all but one game as a freshman, he began his Cyclones career as a secondary role player. His stellar performance during his sophomore season, in which he stepped into the role of the primary scorer and more than doubled his scoring average, bodes well for his ability to adapt to the NBA game.
His sophomore year leap also speaks to Haliburton’s work ethic and demeanor. He’s a hard-working late bloomer (similar to last year’s first-round pick, Rui Hahcimura) who knows his role and plays it well. As a scoring guard, Haliburton was efficient and careful. He shot above 50 percent from the field, above 55 percent on two-point attempts, and above 40 percent on three-point attempts in each of his two seasons at Iowa State. He also takes care of the ball and had better than a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio in each of his two seasons as a Cyclone.
On draft night, the Wizards might have some inside info on Haliburton that other teams don’t. The projected lottery pick has been working out with Wizards wing Troy Brown Jr as he prepares for the draft. We’ll see if that helps earn him a spot on Washington’s roster.