Nothing about 2020 has been normal. So as Tyrese Haliburton's name kept falling in the 2020 NBA Draft, a year unlike any other looked to be offering up another head scratcher to add to the list.
Viewed by many scouts and draft analysts as a consensus top-10 pick heading into Wednesday's draft, Haliburton waited longer than expected to hear his name called.
Eventually, Haliburton was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the No. 12 pick in the draft, making Haliburton the third-highest draft pick in Iowa State history.
A "perfect fit" in Sacramento
Haliburton will head to Sacramento, California, where he'll be playing with some solid backcourt pieces from day one.
De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield jump off the page as the two most impactful guards on the Kings' roster from a season ago.
Haliburton told the media Wednesday that playing with a quick guard who can score at will like Fox will help shore up some weak spots in his own game. Hield has been one of the most efficient 3-point shooters in the NBA over the last four seasons, averaging 42 percent from 3-point range in his four seasons in Sacramento.
“I love it, I think I’m the perfect fit with them," Haliburton said.
Haliburton said he thrives with other great guards around him, making Sacramento an easy landing spot for the start of his NBA career.
“I can’t wait, honestly," Haliburton said.
Falling in the draft can become motivation
Haliburton was all smiles with the media after the draft dust had pretty much settled.
And while the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, native was happy on his landing spot with Sacramento at No. 12, the outside hype leading into the draft did cross his mind on what will fuel him going forward as he begins his career.
“Obviously, I gotta find stuff to get me going," Haliburton said. “Obviously there’s some stuff that happened tonight that I’m not forgetting anytime soon, and I’m excited to attack those things.”
Haliburton said first and foremost, the NBA is a business.
As teams continued to pass him on draft night, Haliburton said teams who passed on him made the best decision for their team's future and was not going to complain about how things ended up.
But for Haliburton, whether it was being listed as a sub-150 prospect in Iowa State's 2018 recruiting class or hearing doubters in his hometown growing up, Haliburton has become used to people doubting him.
As his career is set to begin, Haliburton reflected on what some people thought he would or wouldn't become while he was still in high school.
“There were 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," Haliburton said. "I’m sure there were other people that said I would never make the NBA, and here I am today.”
An Ames connection
Haliburton won't be the only player on the Kings who has a connection to Ames, with former Ames High School prep star Harrison Barnes starting on the Kings last season.
Barnes was ranked as the No. 1 high school prospect in the nation in the 2010 recruiting class when he eventually chose to take his five-star status to North Carolina.
Barnes would end up being drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the seventh pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. Barnes won a championship with the Warriors in the 2015 NBA Finals.
“Obviously, Harrison is an NBA Champion, somebody who's done very well in this league," Haliburton said.