As I watched the NBA Draft unfold Wednesday, with Tyrese Haliburton's name continuing to be passed over, I wasn't shocked or upset. I was confused more than anything.
Why would NBA teams ignore Haliburton and all of the unique gifts he brings to the table? Why would teams like the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons or Washington Wizards pass on their biggest need, a point guard who brings as much upside on the floor as he does in the locker room?
Analysts from ESPN, Bleacher Report and many other outlets involved with NBA Draft predictions had Haliburton pegged as a top 10 talent. And yes, there was no consensus on which team would possibly take him, the thought of him being a top 10 selection was basically a shoo-in.
Even Haliburton's former coach, Steve Prohm, told the media on Oct. 21 that based on the conversations he had with team representatives, scouts and media, Haliburton going in the top 10 seemed predictable.
“I couldn’t see him going lower than 10, that’s just my gut," Prohm said Oct. 21.
Like I said before, when you look at it all, nothing pointed to a legitimate reason as to why Haliburton fell to the Sacramento Kings at No. 12.
Confused too? Haliburton seemed to feel the same way after the draft Wednesday, even subtly hinting that the draft did not go the way he expected either.
“Obviously I gotta find stuff to get me going," Haliburton said. “Obviously there’s some stuff that happened tonight that I’m not going to forget anytime soon and I’m excited to attack those things.”
But if you're Tyrese Haliburton, are you really that surprised about how the NBA Draft went? I mean, up to this point, you've always been overlooked and undervalued.
Coming out of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, as a sub-150 prospect in the 2018 recruiting class, there weren't too many interested in the future NBA lottery pick. Iowa State gave him a chance and look where he is now.
Even after his freshman season, Haliburton was still seen as just a nice player who served his role well as an off-ball shooter who could make threes at a high rate. And once again, Haliburton doubters would be proven wrong.
After a collection of players left for the NBA after his freshman season, Haliburton was handed the keys from Prohm to take over as the main point guard, facilitator and scorer. You name it and Haliburton was asked to do it in his sophomore season.
And what did he do? Oh, ya know, average 15.2 points per game, shoot 50 percent from the floor, 42 percent from three and have a 4.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
“There was a lot of people who told me and told their friends that I wouldn’t be able to play at Iowa State, I wouldn’t get in the game, so obviously those people were wrong but I’m sure there were other people that said I would never make the NBA and here I am today," Haliburton said.
So as the Kings start to find a role for Haliburton alongside their established backcourt with De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a "revenge tour" of sorts from Haliburton once he gets his shot on the floor.
The Kings aren't exactly playoff contenders on paper, having just finished their 14th consecutive losing season and sitting in the toughest conference in the NBA. It's not like their roster is constructed to where Haliburton couldn't come in right away and start, which I expect he will.
Haliburton is a nice guy, so like most guys on draft night where agents and team representatives are in your ear making sure you say all the right things, it can be hard sometimes to tell a player's true emotions.
But it was easy to see he was ready to prove people wrong yet again. He didn't have to curse any team or say he was better than "X" player, his face and reaction to questions about him falling in the draft were obvious to see through.
He knew he got passed on. He knew he was doubted for the millionth time. But he also knew he's about to remind everyone of what kind of player they missed.
I bet five years from now, when we look back on this draft, not only will Haliburton be viewed as an absolute steal for the Kings, he will have shown the entire NBA they were wrong about him.