Tyrese Haliburton’s passing unlocks the Pacers’ offense

Tyrese Haliburton was gifted to the Indiana Pacers by the Sacramento Kings at the NBA trade deadline. Although the Indiana Pacers lost an All-Star in Domantas Sabonis, Haliburton’s playmaking abilities are exciting.

Tyrese Haliburton’s (Pacers) season stats: 17.5 PPG, 9.6 APG, 4.3 RPG, while shooting 41.6% from three and 50.2% from the field.

The Indiana Pacers underwent the third-worst season in franchise history in 2021-22. Now, they look to reshape the roster and it stars with Haliburton.

Haliburton spent 26 games in an Indiana uniform this season and quickly made it known that the Pacers have a new floor general. In his second game with the team, he dished out 16 assists while scoring 22 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Before the Feb. trade was made, Rick Carlisle was big on any player taking the ball up the court and getting in transition. Haliburton reads the floor so quickly, it just feels as if he knows where every outlet is and is able to get the ball there with accuracy.

At just 21 years old, the new face of the franchise finished the season 4th overall in total assists for the entire NBA. The three players ahead of him were Trae Young, Chris Paul, and James Harden. Each of those players has been an All-Star at some point in their career, which is a pretty good company to be in.

He also finished the year at 8th overall in the NBA for assists per game at 8.2. Each player in the top 10 in this category has also been an All-Star, except for Haliburton.

On the flip side of that shiny coin, he finished 6th in the league in total minutes played which shows how impactful he is for the team, but I would like to see the Indiana Pacers find a better balance of on/off-court action. That starts with building a supporting cast that can contribute and help take the load off his back.

If you can remember the 2020 playoffs where the Indiana Pacers lost four straight games to the Miami Heat, that was a team of lacked ball movement, to say the least.

Before the Pacers traded Domantas Sabonis, he was their best facilitator, and outside of him the starting five didn’t have many passers. Malcolm Brogdon is a solid distributor at 5.9 assists a game, but he isn’t nearly creating the shots that Haliburton has.

After Pat Beverly read Haliburton’s initial pass, Oshae Brissett is able to recover and the ball is able to find his way back to Haliburton who sets up Brissett again in the corner for an open three.

The defense made a poor choice when Pat Beverly left Oshae to come to guard Lance at the top of the key and that miscommunication allowed the Pacers another chance. So, because of this move, the team got three points.

I spoke with one of the Pacers’ assistant coaches this offseason to discuss last year’s woes and the future of the team’s roster. Jenny Boucek had nothing but high praise for the newest member of the Indiana Pacers.

“When you have a core player like Haliburton, you are hoping to build around him and his strengths. When your best players are complementary, that’s when you start to develop a firm identity which I believe you need to have to attain success in this league. You can’t be good at some things and not great at anything and you don’t really know who you are and what is going to separate you from other teams.”

The Pacers are building a new young core of talented players and they hope to add to that in this year’s draft. If they keep the sixth pick or not, I think the team is in a good position to add more pieces that better fit alongside the young star in Tyrese Haliburton.

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