Douglas: Haliburton fits well with the Kings, despite no immediate need

Tyrese Haliburton looks to his teammates as he drives toward the basket against Kansas State on Feb. 8 at Hilton Coliseum.

Zane Douglas

Going into Wednesday, former Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton was in good position to be taken in the top half of the lottery, and projected by most to be a top 10 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

At No. 12, the Sacramento Kings selected Haliburton as the Iowa State product fell out of the top 10 and landed with one of the top teams that missed the playoffs.

With young stud De’Aaron Fox already handling playmaking duties and some solid pieces surrounding him, this doesn’t look on the surface like an immediate need for the Kings.

Buddy Hield, as solid as he’s been as a scorer, is already 27 and is earning a lot of money that could handicap the Kings when trying to bring back Fox.

Even with Fox and Hield, Haliburton — with some added bulk — has the length to play as a small ball three in the NBA which is something  that could work well with Fox and Hield.

“I think I excel best with other great guards,” Haliburton said. “Obviously, a quicker guard, you know a freak athlete in De’Aaron, I think he’s kind of the perfect guy for me in terms of what I lack, he has.”

Young piece and former top five pick Marvin Bagley III has had Fox to help him, but has lacked a try pass-first point guard to help him run pick-and-rolls as well as rim run in transition.

These are the areas in which Haliburton excels in and the Iowa State product has all the time in the world to do it in Sacramento as he gets to immediately sit in the shadow as a change of pace backup.

Former Iowa State guard Monte Morris found his calling as an efficient playmaker and shooter off the bench for the Denver Nuggets and has become one of the key role players behind one of the more successfully built teams in the NBA of late.

Haliburton has the same skills, with length and flashiness that could take him even further, but at the very least, he’ll have a chance to mold into a similar player as Morris.

While Haliburton’s role won’t be clear, he will be a solid fit for the Kings and he’ll also get a chance to play with an Ames native in forward Harrison Barnes.

Barnes ended up at North Carolina as a five star recruit out of Ames and made his way to the NBA, with the Golden State Warriors before bouncing around a couple times and settling in as a Sacramento King.

While Barnes and Haliburton have never played together, the two will start with something similar in their lives — living in Ames for a portion of their life.

Barnes brings a skillset that plays well with a pass-first and transition guard like Haliburton as he’s one of the players that the Kings have that has taken on the role of off-ball shooter and lane filler, along with Nemanja Bjelica.

The fit works well and there will be plenty of opportunities to grow for Haliburton as the team is still relatively young.

Slipping down to No. 12 in the draft certainly isn’t ideal, but Haliburton will have ample time to prove that the teams that passed one him made a mistake, especially on a team that fits with his style of play as well as Sacramento does.

“There’s not a lot of things that they don’t have,” Haliburton said. “[…] I feel like I’m someone that can do everything on a basketball court.”