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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: The Future(s) of Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton

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Three teams, three alternate career paths.

In a normal year, the anticipation for football around this time of year makes me miss basketball. That void is usually half-filled by NBA free agency shenanigans and the release of NBA 2k’s video game. In a normal year, we would already know where Iowa State’s lottery pick, Tyrese Haliburton, would be going. But this is not a normal year.

As the draft lottery is now ten days behind us, it’s time to look ahead, and think about which team could pick our beloved breakout guard. Ultimately, we’ll take a look at his potential suitors, and how his career might be impacted by where he ends up.

With the (probably not) 2nd pick in the NBA draft, the Warriors select, Tyrese Haliburton. Before we dive into this, I don’t see Haliburton being the second pick. In order for this to happen the Warriors would probably trade back in the draft and then select him somewhere in the 4-8 range.

The Golden State Warriors have been the team of the decade. Their magnificent ball movement, alongside some of the best offensive players in NBA history dominated for half the decade. Their star players are aging, or leaving in the case of Kevin Durant, but their core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are still a force to be reckoned with.

Really, the only downside of the Warriors is their timeline. By the time Haliburton is at his prime, Curry, Thompson, and Green will most likely be retired or chasing rings on contenders. The Warriors lack a true young core right now.

The main concern with Tyrese’s game is his awkward, slow release on his jump shot, and his inability to get a shot off the dribble. There’s a couple of guys on this team that know a thing or two about a good release on a jump shot. His shortcomings aside, Tyrese is a winner and will be best showcased on a winning team. His high basketball IQ, and winning plays will be much more appreciated on a title contending team than a perennial bottom feeder.

Think of the young guys who were drafted by the Spurs over the last 20 years, a team that has done nothing but win for as long as I’ve been alive. Guys like Danny Green, George Hill, and Kawhi Leonard had few expectations on their draft day. However, they started around greatness and have gone on to have major roles on winning teams.

This should be the ideal landing spot for Tyrese for Cyclone fans. Even if he doesn’t get crazy amounts of playing time in the next year or two, he’ll be on a winning team, on TV all the time. Not to mention he’ll be surrounded by future hall of famers. Tyrese will be making highlights in the league for over a decade if he winds up representing “The Town”. While he might not be a ‘lifer’ for the Warriors, he’ll be there for a long time if his contract is at the right price.

With the 6th pick, the Atlanta Hawks select Tyrese Haliburton. I know, I know, this whole section won’t be about Trae Young (who will have a better career than Luka Doncic by the way). The Hawks have been LOUSY since their days of being a one seed in 2015. A team that had no true stars, led by Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague... and Kyle Korver? Since their lackluster playoff run that year, the Hawks blew everything up, and now have new players, a new logo, new colors, new uniforms, and a new tradition of losing lots of games.

Trae Young, the college basketball darling of the 2017-2018 season, is the face of the franchise as long as he stays in Atlanta. He’ll go for 30 points and 10 assists in almost every game next year on a team that’ll be lucky to break 30 wins. They’re a bad team, and I get that, but I think the stars could be aligning.

Tyrese would be surrounded by other young talent like Trae Young, not to mention big men Clint Capella and John Collins. Their wings, at the moment, are mostly unproven young players. That’s good news for Haliburton. With Young almost certainly being the point guard, that would force Haliburton into playing off ball. Tyrese is no stranger to that role, as he was rarely the primary ball handler his freshman year at Iowa State with Nick Weiler-Babb or Lindell Wigginton bringing the ball up more times than not.

This also wouldn’t prohibit Haliburton from having the ball in his hands during fast break opportunities, where his otherworldly vision excels. Also, Haliburton is a pass first type of player, and Young is certainly a shoot first guard. Haliburton could be the yin to Young’s yang in ATL. I can see the headlines now: “From Hilton Magic, to Magic City: Tyrese is headed to Hot-Lanta.”

If I’m being real with myself though, I could see Haliburton growing old of Young hoisting fifteen 3-pt shots a game. Atlanta hasn’t been super consistent on developing young players either. Young and Collins have done well, but both of their games fit a perfect NBA mold. Haliburton ending up in Atlanta would most likely start a career of being an NBA journeyman, possibly climaxing in a 6th man of the year award down the road.

There’s certainly worse career paths, but beggars can’t be choosers in the lottery that is stocked full of bad teams, like this next one.

With the 8th pick in the NBA draft (sigh) the New York Knicks select, Tyrese Haliburton. Big eye roll here. Maybe the most dysfunctional team in the NBA would most certainly find a way to mess his career up. The team’s incompetence starts at the top with owner James Dolan, who likes using the Madison Square Garden grounds for his jazz band more than basketball itself. The mecca of basketball has moved across the bridge for the most part and now resides in Brooklyn among stars like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, two targets the Knicks had high on their boards in last summer’s free agency.

“So who does play for the New York Knicks right now?” is a question I’m sure many of you have. Some draft busts, and players that will make you say “Oh did he play at Kentucky for a year?” The Knicks are years away from being a year away. The Knicks have botched many a promising young guard in the past few years. France’s Frank Ntilikina, NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr. who came from Dallas in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, and the jury is still out on Duke’s RJ Barrett, who had an underwhelming rookie campaign.

Boy, I don’t even know where to go from here. The Knicks have one of the worst player development track records in the league. Their best prospect, Kristaps Porzingis, wanted out of New York after only three years in the Big Apple. Knicks fans will tell you he couldn’t handle the big city lights, but I think the answer is more simple: no one wants to play for the Knicks right now.

If Tyrese Haliburton does fall to the Knick’s and the 8th pick, it will be a sad, sad day for Cyclone fans. Our best hope is that he gets traded early in his career and can make a name for himself somewhere else. The New York Knicks are where promising guards go to die, and are never heard from again.

If he does get drafted by the Knicks I wouldn’t be surprised if they hold him hostage for his rookie contract, and by the time it’s up, not many teams will be handing out contracts to a guard who couldn’t put up crazy good stats on a crazy bad team. The Knicks are the opposite of winners. They play losing basketball. They’re not so much a team as they are a collection of players that happen to play basketball. Please, please, please, do not draft MY point guard New York, please.