The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2020 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Tyrese Haliburton
Team: Iowa State
2019/20 stats: 22 G, 36.7 mpg, 15.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 6.5 apg, 2.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 50.4 FG% (5.6/11.1), 41.9 3PT% (2.4/5.6), 82.2 FT%
Player comparison: Penny Hardaway, Shaun Livingston
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 5th, Sports Illustrated 4th, Ringer 4th, NBADraft.net 11th, Bleacher Report 5th
5 things to know:
*Projected by most evaluators as a top-5 pick, Haliburton may be the most versatile player in this year's draft, as he can do just about everything. He is a knockdown shooter with advanced ball-handling and passing skills. He rebounds very well for his position and is a disruptor on defense, using his plus-wingspan to cause turnovers. He even blocks shots well for a guard, averaging nearly a block per game as a freshman at Iowa State.
*What stands out most about Haliburton is his basketball IQ. He has a remarkable feel for the game and seems to always be in control. He thinks a step ahead of his competition and it shows particularly in his passing. Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer describes Haliburton as a "genius playmaker." Haliburton seems to understand the geometry of basketball on a different level than most players his age.
*Haliburton is not considered an explosive athlete in terms of his quickness or leaping ability. He's not the sort of high-ceiling physical specimen many teams look for in top draft picks. That could lead to some teams questioning his potential to become a perennial All-Star. But what he lacks in athleticism, he makes up for in skill and intelligence.
*Another potential area of concern for Haliburton is his shooting motion. It's not quite Shawn Marion, but it's definitely unorthodox. He has a low release point and the fear would be he gets it blocked too often at the next level. The counter to that, however, would be that he makes those shots. Shooting 41.9 percent from three on 5.6 attempts per game last season in college indicates he has the potential to be a very good shooter in the NBA. In fact, there's an argument he's the most accurate shooter in this draft.
*Haliburton's cousin is three-time NBA All-Star Eddie Jones. Jones was a star for the Lakers right before they took off as a dynasty with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal and was the starter over Bryant during Bryant's early days as a young bench player in L.A.
Fit with Wizards: The beauty of Haliburton's game is that he can fit pretty much anywhere, with any team and in any system. His two-way potential and versatility make him ideal for positionless basketball. And his basketball smarts should make him adaptable to new surroundings.
When it comes to the Wizards, Haliburton is on the short-list of their best fits in this draft. Though he is technically a guard and they have a lot invested in John Wall and Bradley Beal, Haliburton could likely co-exist well with them, as a combo guard off the bench or alongside them as a small-ball three. His shooting ability would bode well for being effective off-the-ball on offense and his length and instincts suggest he could hold his own defensively at the small forward spot.
Haliburton also seems to be in the mold of players the Wizards like. He's got some Otto Porter Jr., Troy Brown Jr. and Rui Hachimura in him. He is not a high-flying athlete, but does the little things well and would add another smart guy to the team. He is unselfish and can impact the game with his passing even when he isn't the primary ball-handler.
Haliburton could also give the Wizards something they desperately lack which is a scrappy perimeter defender. He has the potential to be better in that area than anyone currently on their roster.
Haliburton really seems like the type of player general manager Tommy Sheppard would love. Whether they feel that way on draft night, or if they will even be picking in his range, remains to be seen.
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NBA Draft 2020: Tyrese Haliburton would add smarts, versatility to Wizards originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington