NBA: 5 undervalued rookies who have already proven they belong

NBA Philadelphia 76ers Tyrese Maxey (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Philadelphia 76ers Tyrese Maxey (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /
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NBA Sacramento Kings Tyrese Haliburton (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports) /

Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings (12th pick)

28.9 MPG, 12.6/2.9/5.7, 68.8% eFG%

Tyrese Haliburton sliding to the 12th pick in the draft was puzzling in the moment, and now that he has the second-best Vegas odds for rookie of the year it’s becoming more and more indefensible for the teams who passed on him.

Haliburton is flawed. His frame and awkward shooting motion more closely resemble a kid who comes off the bench in his church league than a potential rookie of the year in the NBA, but none of that matters.

His efficiency is off the charts but his value goes beyond what can be seen in the box scores. Turn on a Kings game and if you didn’t know any better you’d think he was a 10-year veteran. The way he seamlessly adds value to his team without needing the ball in his hands shows an understanding of the game that’s well beyond his years, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by Luke Walton who has already increased his minutes to an average of 31 per game in January.

I don’t know what Haliburton’s long-term ceiling is, but there are not many players in the NBA, let alone rookies, who can fit with any team and in any system but he has already proven to be one of them.