Tyrese Haliburton has developed into one of the steals of recent NBA drafts over the last couple of years, with the Golden State Warriors having theoretically had access to the now Indiana Pacers guard.
The 23-year-old has just signed a five-year max contract with the Pacers worth up to $260 million, signifying his transition from late lottery pick in 2020 to one of the league’s brightest young stars.
Tyrese Haliburton has revealed the crucial support he had from Golden State Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr shortly after he was drafted.
The 6’5″ point-guard has an unusual looking jumpshot, yet it’s proven effective having made over 40% from three-point range in each of his first three seasons. Joining the Podcast P with Paul George recently, Haliburton revealed that it was Warrior head coach Steve Kerr who played a key role in changing the narrative that his jumpshot needed fixing as he headed into the NBA.
"“When I got drafted, Luke (Walton) didn’t really know anything about me, and one of the stories he told me recently was that coach Kerr had called him — cos’ I worked out for the Warriors — and coach Kerr called him and was like, ‘we love that kid, don’t ever change touch his jumper.”"
Kerr’s love and support for Haliburton must be tough words for Warrior fans to hear, with the franchise having taken seven-foot center James Wiseman with the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Haliburton was ultimately taken 12th by the Sacramento Kings.
Although taking him with the second pick may have been an unrealistic stretch, there were was speculation pre-draft that Golden State could have traded down in what was a Covid-impacted, pick-debated class.
Acquiring a pick later in the lottery could have given the Warriors a more logical selection in which to take Haliburton. While he may never have developed at the same rate with Golden State, the thought of Haliburton in the Bay is a sobering thought given the potential and seemingly perfect fit.
Instead, the Warriors got 60 total games and little impact from Wiseman before he was moved for Gary Payton II at February’s trade deadline. Haliburton averaged 20.7 points and 10.4 assists with the Pacers last season, earning his first All-Star berth in the process.