Cavs: Diving into a potential Tyrese Haliburton-Collin Sexton backcourt

Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton handles the ball. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton handles the ball. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images) /
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Tyrese Haliburton, Cleveland Cavaliers
Iowa State Cyclones guard Tyrese Haliburton celebrates in-game. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images) /

The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery is just days away and after then, we will have a much clearer vision of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ plans for the 2020 NBA Draft.

Currently, there are a multitude of directions the Cleveland Cavaliers could go in the upcoming NBA draft, depending on the mindset of the organization. So far, we have heard multiple reports of what the Cavaliers may look to do in the draft and one thing that remains clear is that the Cavaliers are looking at talent over fit.

The 2020 NBA Draft class is an interesting one, seeing as there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut number one overall prospect. With this in mind and depending on their draft position, the Cavaliers look to be better off with a lower pick than others may anticipate.

To further explain, rather than say a top three pick, the Cavaliers could be better off with a pick ranging anywhere between 5-8. Now, the Cavaliers cannot fall below the sixth overall pick so a trade would have to happen for them to end up with pick seven or eight, rather.

With a top five-eight pick, there are a plethora of players that the Cavaliers could look to take but one that may intrigue the most is Tyrese Haliburton.

Tyrese Haliburton had an amazing season for the Iowa State Cyclones this past college season. In 22 games played, Haliburton averaged 15.2 points, 6.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds and a staggering 2.5 steals per game. He would also display great efficiency, shooting 50.4 percent from the field, 41.9 percent from three-point land and 82.2 percent from the free throw line.

Looking at these statistics, the biggest facets of his game that stand out is his playmaking, defense, shooting and basketball IQ.

Looking at his defense, as stated above, Haliburton averaged 2.5 steals per game, as well as having a 3.8 steal percentage, the highest in the draft class. Haliburton stands at 6-foot-5 with a near-7-foot wingspan. This length makes him versatile on the defensive end, something the Cavaliers are in need of.

According to scouting reports, Haliburton is looked at as a “High IQ team defender”, meaning that he is always talking, directing players, and rotating. Haliburton is also said to be quick and light on his feet, allowing for him to greatly anticipate passes, showing just how he was able to get a ton of steals.

Haliburton is stated to weigh around 175 pounds so for him to unlock his full defensive potential, he must bulk up and add weight.

Looking at the offensive side of the ball, Haliburton’s playmaking abilities shined bright this year. This 2019-20 college season, he averaged 6.5 assists per game and showed a great knack at finding his teammates, even in the tightest of situations. That feel is something the Cavs could definitely use, too.

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Scoring wise, there may be potential there as well for the Iowa State guard. This year, Haliburton averaged 15.2 points, shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from three-point range, as was previously mentioned, and that three-point shooting clip was on 5.6 three-point attempts a game.

Haliburton wasn’t a big shot taker and this trend is likely to follow into the NBA, though. Diving deeper into his shooting, Haliburton projects to be a great off-ball shooter while he does need a lot of help and fine tuning to his on-ball game.

Diving into statistics, Haliburton ranked in the 99th percentile in spot-up shooting and ranked in the 98th percentile in catch-and-shoot situations, according to Synergy Sports and h/t

Looking at his on-ball play, it is a complete 180. According to Synergy, Tyrese ranked in the 35th percentile shooting off-the-dribble.

To simplify the discrepancy between his off-ball/on-ball play, he shot 49 percent on catch-and-shoot shots and 28 percent on off-the-dribble shots, and his “uncoventional mechanics,” as that piece pointed out, was largely the reasoning there.

Lastly, we can look at Tyrese in transition. Haliburton ranks in the 99th percentile in points per possession on the fastbreak among college players, according to Synergy. The Cavs should rejoice over this if a potential Haliburton pick is made seeing as the Cavaliers were the fourth-worst team in transition this now-past season for them.

Looking at Haliburton’s overall game, he isn’t a high usage player. He projects to mainly work off-ball, has a great shot off-the-catch, even with those said mechanics, and can operate well in the pick-and-roll. Defensively, his length would allow for teams to put him in many different positions and lineups and see him have success, albeit getting stronger will be key for him, as NBA Draft pundits have consistently noted.

Granted, Haliburton checks off most, if not all, of the boxes that the Cavs need alongside Collin Sexton in a backcourt running mate.

Now, we’ll highlight those possibilities of a potential Haliburton-Sexton backcourt for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Collin Sexton came on in 2019-20 and looks to be the Cavaliers’ number one option moving forward, and we’ll hit on Sexton’s close to his second season and look at the potential fit of Haliburton and Sexton at first glance.