Sacramento Kings: A new dynamic duo may be the recipe for success

NBA Draft prospect Tyrese Haliburton (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
NBA Draft prospect Tyrese Haliburton (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images) /

There’s a new dynamic duo ready to lead the way for the Sacramento Kings

Not many expected Tyrese Haliburton to be available when the Sacramento Kings would go on the lock during the 2020 NBA Draft. Not only did many expect him to be chosen in the top 8, but I also wasn’t sure if the fit with De’Aaron Fox was worth delving in to.

Instead, I was content to choose any 3-and-D wing available, meaning Aaron Nesmith was my priority. Yet, to have an extremely talented guard fall out of the top 8  and onto your franchise’s lap is not something to take for granted.

Immediately after the Kings chose Haliburton I couldn’t help but laugh, of course, they went off book for this one. Not once had anyone suggested the idea of drafting Haliburton, especially considering the fit. To say I was surprised is an understatement.

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Although the surprise at what came out of Jay Williams’ mouth next shocked me the most. He went on to give his expert analysis, explaining that this pick is great for when Fox eventually leaves.

"“The reality is for Sacramento, you’re not sure if Fox wants to be there long term.”"

Since then, Fox has signed a five-year contract extension worth at least $163 million. From this, it is clear to see the Kings view this backcourt combo as the future.

Efficiency is key

Firstly, let’s have a look at Haliburton. He is not the type of player whose going to drop 50 points on your head, nor will he pull up like Curry or posterize like Westbrook. Halliburton is that ‘filler’ player, the connector, never needing the ball, but always effective with it. The Ringer’s Jonothan Tjarks surmised it nicely

"“What the model picked up were all the things Haliburton didn’t do on the floor. He rarely missed shots or turned the ball over: He shot 68.5 percent on 2-point field goals and 43.4 percent on 3s and had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.5-to-1.”"

Throughout his two years in college, he shot above 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range, all with a usage rate of over 22 percent. An extremely well-rounded player, he finished his sophomore season averaging 15 points, six rebounds, and six assists per game.

Haliburton’s game is custom-built for Sacramento’s run-and-gun style of play. To top it all off, he immediately won over Kings fans with his draft-night interview.

"“I’m in the perfect spot, Sacramento’s the perfect spot for me”."

Now if that doesn’t warm your heart as a Kings fan I don’t know what will.

Dynamic duo 

On paper, two point guards may not be the ideal backcourt, but OKC showed last year how dangerous this lineup can be, especially when the ball is pinging around. Fox would be the primary ball-handler in this partnership, but this is no longer out of necessity.

After unsuccessful stints with Buddy Hield and Cory Joseph running the point, Halliburton is about to bring a much-needed touch of class to the position.

Haliburton can sit on the perimeter as a catch-and-shoot threat. He can trailblaze in transition and although he’s not the greatest isolation scorer, he’s more than an accomplished facilitator. Linking the play is what his game is all about. Sacramento has struggled with ball movement, especially once the ball has left Fox’s hands. Haliburton has that secondary playmaker who can soak up some of that offensive pressure, allowing Fox to focus more on scoring.

The speed of Fox and the ability of Haliburton seems like a recipe for success, but it’s not always that simple. While he did score efficiently in college, Haliburton’s jump shot does look pretty unconventional. His frame at 6-foot-5 and 180 pounds is also very light for the NBA, meaning he’ll likely struggle initially against grown men.

But that’s just the thing, with Fox as the primary scorer, Halliburton can play off the ball, supporting when needed while allowing Fox to let loose. In other words, Haliburton’s weaknesses are Fox’s strengths which make me think these two can be a dynamic duo for years to come.

I could not be more ecstatic with the Sacramento front office. It’s never easy taking the best player available when you already have a franchise player in that position. But in doing so, the Kings have improved in the long run, and in light of the Lakers signing every good free agent, perhaps a developmental year is what’s needed.

Next. NBA: Ranking the 5 best under-the-radar moves of the 2020 free agency period. dark

With Fox re-signed for the next five years, this dynamic one-two punch looks like it’s here to stay.