Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton has been working hard this summer with trainer Drew Hanlen in order to become a more aggressive scorer, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball News, who recently had an in-depth interview with Haliburton that also features Indiana’s general manager, Chad Buchanan.
The 22-year-old had a very impressive 26-game stint with the Pacers last season after being traded by the Kings in February, averaging 17.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 9.6 APG and 1.8 SPG on .502/.416/.849 shooting in 36.1 MPG. Entering his third season, he says he hopes to boost those numbers even more in 2022/23.
“I want to be a 20-and-10 guy and I want to be an All-Star,” Haliburton said. “Those are two personal goals for me that, I think, are attainable. I definitely think [I can accomplish that], for sure. I think I had that ability last year, and there was a span where I was doing that, so I think that naturally, I just have that ability. But now it’s just making that shift mentality-wise. I truthfully think 8, 9, 10 assists, that just happens for me playing basketball. I feel like I’m just a facilitator by nature, like, that just happens.
“But I think for me, it’s just getting more field-goal attempts, getting to the free-throw line more — I think I had like 30 games last year with no free throws, so I’m paying attention to that — and just figuring out different nuances and different ways to score the basketball. That’s just gonna allow me to elevate my game to a new level.”
Here are a few more highlights from Kennedy’s interview, which is worth checking out in full for any fans of Haliburton and/or the Pacers.
Buchanan on Haliburton being Indiana’s centerpiece:
“We’re gonna build our team around him. We see him as hopefully being the next Reggie Miller. We had a Reggie Miller mural painted on a building in downtown Indianapolis, and I think our dream is that one day Tyrese will have [his own] up somewhere in downtown Indianapolis.”
Haliburton on hopefully emulating the Grizzlies and developing the young roster over time:
“Man, I’m really excited about (the Pacers’ long-term potential). I’m really excited about the opportunity to build something young and starting from scratch, it feels. I think what Memphis has done is kinda what every young team is aspiring to do — have a bunch of young pieces that grow together, draft well and then compete for a championship. That’s big for me — to be able to kind of start from scratch and be a part of that culture building and everything that comes with it… I think that’s just the fun part about it, just being so young and getting to grow together, I think that’s really exciting.”
On using the trade as motivation:
“I think for the rest of my career, that [trade] is in my head, right? I think the great ones take little things, negative things and run with them. It’s funny — when I do things well, people are always like, ‘Look at what the Kings did!’ I love that stuff. That’s what I love. My whole life, I just love proving people wrong… Everything I do, I just want it to be like, ‘[Look at what the Kings did]!’“