With a bounty of draft picks from the 2019 Tradepocalypse summer, the Thunder will be scouting young prospects at the top of recruiting and draft classes once again. Daily Thunder will keep you informed on whether those players look like good targets for Oklahoma City.
|Projected draft class||2020 (declared)|
|Projected draft age||20|
|Measurements||6’5″, 175 lbs.|
|Current Team||Iowa State|
The first thing anyone notices when they watch his game is his length. Haliburton’s measurables at the point guard slot are tremendous. At 6’5″ with a 6’8″ wingspan he has no problem seeing over defenses.
In his second season at Iowa State he averaged 15.2 points per game, 6 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and dawned a 61.1 percent effective field goal percentage. He only played in 22 games his sophomore season, after he suffered a hand injury, but he has shown enough glimpses in two years to be projected to go top 5 in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Haliburton’s upside lies in his playmaking abilities. As a big guard, he operates the pick and roll well. He sees angles and seams that guards typically don’t see this early in their career. He has a natural feel for the game and a propensity to get the most out of his teammates.
He has also shown the ability to knock down three-point jump shots. His release is unconventional, but when given the space he could knock down the college three at a lethal rate.
In two years at Iowa Haliburton shot 42 percent from three, on a 57 game sample size. He has shown flashes of being able to shoot off the dribble, but has not gone to those shots consistently, let alone made them efficiently. However, his 83 percent free-throw shooting is a promising sign for if his jumper will be able to transition to the NBA game, because that shows soft touch and consistency.
When everything is clicking for Haliburton he can affect the game at all levels. He is a good rebounder and a consistent scorer. He is active in terms of offensive creation and is very lethal in transition. A game that highlighted all of his strengths was during the “Bad Boys Mower Battle 4 Atlantis”. He posted counting stats of 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists against Alabama.
The downside to his game comes from his lack of quick-twitch athleticism. He is never going to be the faster guard on the floor. He uses his long strides, but he isn’t a crazy athlete.
His defense leaves a lot to be desired. He struggles to stay in front of quicker guards. And often he stands up in his defensive stance, leaving him susceptible to quick first steps and drives to the rim.
He lacks strength, which bigger guards in the NBA could use to their advantage. There are serious questions about how he will be able to stay in front of stronger guards and compete on the defensive end of the floor.
Haliburton’s jump shot form is a real concern. His slow and low release point has many wondering if he will be able to create enough separation at the pro level to get his shot off.
His off the dribble shot creation also is a worry, but shouldn’t be a primary concern since he showed improvement on it during his two years at Iowa. In an NBA system that should improve even more.
The Thunder Fit
The Thunder are already stocked full at the guard position. Ideally, Thunder fans would like to see Sam Presti take a polished wing, because that is the desperately needed position on the Thunder.
However, in a world where Presti can select Haliburton (very unlikely), he would have an opportunity to learn under Chris Paul, which could help in his continued development as an elite playmaker.
Haliburton’s game has shades of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander so his position on this team would be a bit redundant. Yet he does possess better playmaking skills than SGA. Both of them are bigger guards who use a bevy of stop and start moves to find angles and split seams where they can create for themselves or others.
A possible team with both big guards SGA and Haliburton starting would be fun to see, but I also wonder how many wins it would produce. There is so much overlap in their games, I can’t see a world where Presti takes Haliburton in the draft, even though he is going to be a very good NBA player.