Knicks Draft: Why Tyrese Haliburton isn’t the right fit for New York

AMES, IA - JANUARY 29: Tyrese Haliburton #22 of the Iowa State Cyclones takes a short as Matthew Mayer #24 of the Baylor Bears blocks in the second half of the game at Hilton Coliseum on January 29, 2020 in Ames, Iowa. The Baylor Bears won 67-53 over the Iowa State Cyclones. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
AMES, IA - JANUARY 29: Tyrese Haliburton #22 of the Iowa State Cyclones takes a short as Matthew Mayer #24 of the Baylor Bears blocks in the second half of the game at Hilton Coliseum on January 29, 2020 in Ames, Iowa. The Baylor Bears won 67-53 over the Iowa State Cyclones. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks will look to the NBA Draft to potentially find their point guard of the future but should avoid Iowa St. point guard Tyrese Haliburton.

While the NBA playoffs are underway, the New York Knicks have their eyes set on the draft lottery. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the lottery’s drama for the #1 overall pick, but realistically, Knicks fans should prepare to select in somewhere in the 6-8 range.

The upcoming draft-class is as ambiguous as any, and there seems to be little consensus among where most prospects rank. For the Knicks, the overwhelming expectation is that the team will look to upgrade it’s starting point guard position.

While there could potentially be other avenues to acquiring a lead guard, the draft is the most likely, and it won’t require the team to give up any assets. There are plenty of guards to pick from in this draft class.

Some of the guards in this draft already have national recognition. Names like LaMelo Ball and Cole Anthony are widely known. There are also plenty of guards who have flown under the radar and also emerged as potential top 10 picks. One of them is Tyrese Haliburton.

When it comes to Haliburton, you’ll hear every cliché in the book. “Does all of the little things”, “A coach’s dream”, a real “glue-guy”. These labels are well deserved.

Haliburton is competitive on both ends of the floor. He’s an active defender who takes full advantage of his massive wingspan and great instincts. He is a terrific distributor and very much a pass-first guard. His shot, although incredibly awkward looking, goes in. He battles hard for rebounds.

Why the Knicks should have reservations about Tyrese Haliburton

Haliburton cannot create offense singlehandedly. He can find the open man on the fast break and is solid in operating a pick and roll. However, he cannot take a defender off the dribble and struggles to create something out of nothing.

Using Synergy stats provided by a scouting report from The Stepien, it shows that Haliburton really struggles in isolation situations. He shot an abysmal 28% from the field when shooting off the bounce this past season.

Going beyond just the scary shooting percentages, when you watch Haliburton play, it’s pretty evident that there are two glaring issues with his game.

The first is the 6-5 guard struggles to fool anybody when handling the ball. His dribbling, to put it nicely, is pedestrian. He isn’t blowing by any NBA defender 1-on-1.

The second is his shooting form. Haliburton as a catch-and-shoot player is absolute money. He scored in the 97th percentile on such shots. His form doesn’t seem to matter in that department, and I don’t think there’s any reason to doubt Haliburton won’t be able to knock down open 3-pointers in the NBA.

His form does, however, clearly inhibit his ability to shoot off of the dribble. Haliburton’s lack of ability to create space for himself with the ball in his hands, coupled with his bizarre and lengthy shooting form is not a recipe for success. Not for a starting point guard.

This isn’t at all saying that Haliburton cannot succeed in the NBA. As a matter of fact, there are multiple destinations in the draft lottery where I could see Wisconsin native thrive. He would be a dream fit with Steve Kerr’s Warriors, running around screens as a secondary option, and doing the dirty work for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Overall, he just does not fit with the Knicks. If the Knicks were to draft a point guard within the top-8 selections, you know he will carry the expectations of being the franchise’s point guard of the future.

Thrusting Haliburton, a player who has struggled to dribble past defenders, into the starting point guard role with little talent around him, is not a recipe for success for the Knicks or Haliburton himself.

If the Knicks already had elite guard play – a backcourt player who they could trust with the ball in their hands – then maybe this could be a different story. Haliburton is the glue-guy who makes everyone else around him look better, except the Knicks have nothing to glue together.

It’s how a lot of secondary combo-guards have thrived in today’s NBA. Fred VanVleet alongside Kyle Lowry and Dennis Schroder alongside Chris Paul are two examples of players with some point guard skills that have found greater success when paired with a strong point guard, as opposed to running the show themselves.

Haliburton has plenty of paths to success in the NBA. Being slotted in as the Knicks starting point guard is not one of them.

There are a few other point guards in the upcoming draft who may not boast the high shooting percentages that Haliburton does, but they possess the speed, ball handling, and off the dribble shooting potential that elite starting point guards need in the NBA.

Next. Pre-lottery mock of every possible Knicks pick. dark

The Knicks would want Haliburton to be something he’s not, and it’s easy to envision him becoming just another name on the ever-growing list of Knicks point purgatory that includes Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr., Elfrid Payton, Emmanuel Mudiay, Trey Burke, Kadeem Allen, to name a few. Endless battles amongst fans in internet comment sections about who deserves more playing time. Let’s not do this again.