2019-20 Stats: 15.2 PPG; 6.5 APG; 5.9 RPG; 50.4 FG%; 41.9 3FG%; 63.1 True Shooting %
Tyrese Haliburton’s stock has risen significantly over the last few weeks. Always a considered top 10-15 pick, the combo guard who played two seasons at Iowa State is now considered a player who could easily be selected in the top five.
Like many others, I have also become smitten by Haliburton over recent weeks and can see how he would fit within the Bulls scheme. Is he the best option for the Bulls at pick #4? Can the Bulls trade down a few spots and still select Haliburton? I analyze those questions and more below.
Simply look at Haliburton’s sophomore season numbers and you’ll realize that he is a very good player. He is extremely efficient when he shoots the basketball, shooting over 40% from behind the three-point line and a 63% true shooting clip overall.
Haliburton has also displayed very good decision-making when he does have the ball in his hands. He put up a 2.33 assist-turnover ratio, which exemplifies his high basketball IQ.
That IQ also translates to the defensive end. Haliburton does have length, helped by a 7-foot wingspan, but his intelligence allows him to be a sound team defender in the right scheme. He won’t be able to guard the quickest guy on the court, but he’ll be in the right place at the right time more often than not.
While Haliburton has shown that he can be efficient and intelligent with the ball, there are some slight red flags. First, he isn’t an elite athlete. While he can finish at the rim, he doesn’t get there much. Furthermore, he has trouble drawing contact and getting easy points at the free-throw line (18.4% free throw attempt rate).
His handles are good, but he’s not at an elite NBA point guard level in that department. As previously alluded to, he is a decent shooter but he struggles to consistently create his own shot, something that will prove even more difficult in the NBA.
All in all, Haliburton seems to be a player that is good at a lot of things but not great in many.
Evaluating Haliburton’s Fit Within the Bulls
Does Haliburton fit well within the Bulls team? The answer is, I’m not 100% sure. It depends on how the Bulls view Haliburton’s role coming into this season. If they view him as the primary ball-handler, then he does fill more of an immediate need, which is even more glaring given the Bulls have recently decided to not issue a qualifying offer to Kris Dunn.
That being said, if Haliburton is deemed the Bulls’ next point guard, he surely will have question marks heading into the season, especially around his lack of elite athleticism and ball-handling skills.
And while he did show that he was a good decision-maker, his usage rate (20.1%) was on the lower end for top-tier college guards. With the ball in his hands even more, would Haliburton continue to exhibit those high assist-turnover ratio numbers?
If Haliburton can’t cut it as an NBA-level point guard, he simply would be another shooting guard on a team that has two pretty good options at that spot in Coby White and Zach LaVine. The Bulls really should be looking for their primary ball-handler of the next decade.
Should the Bulls Select Haliburton?
Listen, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Haliburton in a Bulls uniform. I think he can be a really good NBA player and have a decent career. His basketball IQ is obvious, his skillset is advanced, and he was seen as a leader and great teammate at Iowa State. The man himself even believes he would be a great fit in Chicago:
But you want to select a star with the fourth overall pick. Does Haliburton fit that bill? I personally don’t think so. As previously mentioned, I think he is good at a lot of things but not great at many. I can easily see him being a role player, maybe even a sixth man off the bench for a championship-level team later on down the road. But again, that’s not the type of player you pick with the fourth pick.
What I would be interested in is a trade-down option. Haliburton most likely won’t fall past the seventh or eighth picks, so trading down with either the Hawks, Pistons, or Knicks would be the most likely scenarios in which the Bulls would still have a chance to select Haliburton. Gaining another team’s young talent and selecting Haliburton would be great business conducted by Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley.
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