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An inside look at 2020 NBA Draft prospect Tyrese Haliburton

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Haliburton used to mimic Steph Curry’s pregame routine while playing for the Iowa State Cyclones.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

There will be plenty of speculation between now at the 2020 NBA Draft about what the Golden State Warriors will do with the No. 2 pick. General manager Bob Myers can look to trade the selection for a proven veteran, or take a young talent who has the potential to develop into a cornerstone piece for the franchise.

If they keep the pick, the Dubs are rumored to favor taking a guard over a center. The 2020 draft features players like Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, and a prospect that the Warriors are reportedly high on in Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton.

The 20 year old averaged 15.2 points, 5.9 boards, and 6.5 assists during his sophomore season with the Cyclones before breaking his wrist in February. Haliburton is an excellent 3-point shooter as well, hitting on 41.9% of his attempts in 2019-20.

At 180 pounds, Haliburton will have to put on some muscle, scouts believe he has a bright future in the NBA. He’s able to penetrate defenses effectively and is a standout playmaker. Haliburton’s defensive abilities are among the best in the draft. He’s athletic and has the quickness to guard multiple positions in the NBA.

I caught up with Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm, and the Des Moines Register’s Randy Peterson —who has covered the Cyclones for the last 15 years— to get an inside perspective on Haliburton’s NBA potential.


Q: Which part of Tyrese’s game improved most from his freshman-to-sophomore season?

Prohm: He’s a guy that probably could have left after his freshman year. He was second in the country in assist to turnover ratio and was really impactful on a really good team. Going to Greece last summer and playing with the under-19 team was really big, winning gold with USA Basketball, he was an eight to one assist to turnover ratio at the tournament. I think that gave him more confidence going into sophomore year, but I think his ability to really score the basketball is what is his biggest improvement was. He was more of a pass-first guy. He really helped with our ball movement on his freshman year. He was first on the team in assists, team and he didn’t play the point guard position his freshman year. I think just really getting that confidence, the ability to really make plays and score. He always shot the ball well, over 40% from the 3-point line, but his ability to score really improved.

Peterson: I thought his defense improved. He can guard ones, twos, and threes, and he can guard them pretty well, and in the Big 12 that’s that’s pretty high-level competition. So I would say his defense improved. Defensively, he’s got good feet, he’s long. His wingspan is very long. But, he could get banged around a little bit too on defense. If they want to bang him a little bit because he is, you know, he is still, like I said, somewhat lanky. I don’t want to say skinny, but he can get in the weight room. So I’ve not even seen him. I would say that his defense improved. He didn’t shoot that much last year, but (his shot) is certainly there. But, the defense has improved the most I think.

Q: What aspects of his game does Haliburton need to work in order to be an impactful NBA player?

Prohm: I think number one, really working on guarding the basketball. I think that’s the biggest thing. Away from the ball, getting more deflections, but guarding the ball and then I would say really being able to get downhill in the pick-and-roll, and being able to make a play in space. I think those are the two things that I would say he can improve. But, he will figure that stuff out because he’s so coachable.

Peterson: I think he needs to continue working on creating his own shot, especially from the perimeter. He can drive to the basket, he’s good at that. He could be a mismatch going to the basket assuming you get some weight on him. But creating his own shot. He’s more of a spot-up shooter. He’s wonderful in the pick-and-roll. But, if somebody creates, and somebody kicks the ball out to him on the perimeter, he’s gonna make it. so that he’s not. I don’t think you’ll confuse him with being shake-and-bake, anything really crazy like that, at least not right now. I mean I haven’t seen that much from him in that respect. But, he can spot up and shoot it for sure.

Q: What are some of Tyrese’s other strengths outside of shooting, and defense?

Prohm: Basketball IQ, size and length. Great wingspan, he’s 6’5, and he’s really skilled. He can spread the floor. I mean, he can really shoot the basketball. He can play the pick-and-roll, and he doesn’t have to have the ball in his hands. Golden State moves the ball, and has such good spacing, and such good ball movement. He can be a second ball reversal, third ball reversal, third-side guy that we’re now gonna break the defense down, and he’s gonna be able to get open shots for Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Draymond, all those guys.

Peterson: He’s pretty good with the ball. He averaged almost seven assists. He didn’t have that many turnovers, so he’s good with the ball. And like I said, he’s played high-level competition. So he’s wonderful with the ball. He’s very smart, extremely smart. He’s a good kid, too. I mean, he’s very respectful. He was very nice to me. He passed up more shots then I would like. I wrote column, after column saying he’s should shoot more, because he was passing up wide-open 3-pointers. But, he was passing them up in favor of somebody else, and more than likely that person made the shot. He can flash to the basket, he can do the mismatch thing, but as I said, you gotta become a little bit concerned about that because they’ll bang him off his path because he needs to get into the weight room. I don’t want to use the word frail, but he needs to get in the weight room. But, he’s almost a 42% 3-point shooter. Another thing about him is he doesn’t have to be the star of the team. He’d almost prefer somebody else to be the star. With Golden State, he wouldn’t have to. I don’t know if he’d ever had to be the star of the team. So, I think that would be a pretty good fit for him because he could fit in nicely and be a roll guy coming off the bench and, provide some instant offense. And, in fact, if he does have the play the point he can do that. Certainly, he’s got good size doing that too. But, I think his role more than anything would be 3-point shooting.

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Q: How would Haliburton fit with the Warriors, playing behind Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins?

Prohm: I think that would be a perfect scenario for him. From a coach’s standpoint and from being around him for the last two years, I think that’d be a perfect scenario just because he’s got great size and length; he can really spread the floor. He can play with the ball, without the ball, really high basketball IQ, big-time character guy. But, he’s a guy that could really step in, and embrace that role and you know, whether it’s the No. 2 pick, or they trade down and take him at seven-or-eight. I think he would really appreciate and value learning from [Steph] Curry, [Klay] Thompson, Draymond [Green], Andrew Wiggins, and coach Kerr, because he’s got such a great admiration, and respect for them, he’s not an ego guy. He’s a, ‘what can I do for the Bay Area? What can I do for this organization? And how can I make an impact type of guy? I think he checks all the boxes for with that organization is looking for. I think if you put him in an organization like Golden State, that already has all those great veteran players and have that championship pedigree, character, and work ethic, if you put those guys around him, I think he can step in and have a great impact for the role that they need him to play. He’ll space the floor, make plays. hit open 3-pointers, be a good wing-defender, and make plays for others like Curry and Thompson. I think he defensive capabilities would fit in really nice with what the Warriors do. I really do think that Golden State is the perfect place for him.

Peterson: Obviously, he’s gonna play behind them. But, he could complement those guys. I think once he gets his feet wet in the NBA he could shoot every bit as good, if not better than Wiggins, the other two probably not yet. I think that’s where he could fit in. It was interesting, he had this pre-game routine that is similar to Curry’s. Tyrese did something like that before games. He would go behind the bench there’d be always be a couple of little kids that that gravitated to him. But, these two little kids would always would always come up and hang out courtside and watch him shoot. He would continually just work his way further back back back. His last shots before he went to the locker room for pre-game. he will go behind the bench and shoot from behind the bench, just in front of the bleachers. And those two kids would just sit there in awe. He’d sit there and swish him. I mean, it would be incredible. That was his deal. I remember one day I said to Tyrese, ‘Why do you do that?’ And he said “Steph.” and I thought that was cool. But, I see him being a very complementary player with the shooters that the warriors have. Tyrese is a good kid. He really is. I don’t say that easily. You know, sometimes if somebody’s a dick, I’ll say it. But, I like him. He’s got a wonderful family, his dad’s awesome. His mom and dad came down from Wisconsin for every game they were awesome. Once he gets to the league, you’ll see his dad there, because he’s very vocal as far as being supportive. He’s the type of guy who would run around the arena and lead the cheers.