Editor's note: Over the next five weeks, the Iowa State Daily sports editors will be doing a series on why every team that has a top 10 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft makes sense for Tyrese Haliburton and why he would want to play with them.
The 2020 Golden State Warriors team had an uncanny finish to its season when you compare it to all of the successful seasons the franchise had prior to 2020.
Golden State went from battling the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals to finishing with the worst record in the NBA at 15-50 and earning itself the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
What was the catalyst for one of the best teams in the NBA to drop straight to the bottom of the league? The lack of the Splash Brothers.
Klay Thompson never made an appearance in the 2020 season after suffering a torn ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Raptors. Stephen Curry only played in five games due to a hand injury he suffered earlier on in the 2020 season.
Golden State struggled in 2020 but saw the emergence of forward Eric Paschall and got a little glimpse of what Andrew Wiggins can do in a new environment after trading D’Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves in return for the former No. 1 overall draft pick.
The Warriors are now getting back one of the best shooting tandems in NBA history and given the recent successes in past seasons, could be lined up to add another “Splash Brother” in the mix.
Why the Warriors want Tyrese
Look, a lot of people are thinking Golden State should draft a big man with the No. 2 overall pick and a lot of people are calling for James Wiseman out of Memphis. However, Golden State shouldn’t do that.
Golden State has perfected the use of a small ball lineup and has never needed an elite caliber center to run their frontcourt. In their three most recent NBA Finals Championship runs, the Warriors never had a truly elite center starting for them.
2015 Championship? Andrew Bogut. 2017 Championship? Zaza Pachulia. 2018 Championship? JaVale McGee.
Outside of that, the Warriors can also directly compare Tyrese Haliburton to another player they found great production and depth in: Shaun Livingston.
Livingston is another tall and lanky guard Golden State was able to get good production out of when Livingston would come off the bench and play alongside Curry and Thompson. Livingston played good minutes for the Warriors in his five years with Golden State before retiring in 2019.
One of the biggest differences between Haliburton and Livingston is the ability to knock down threes. Livingston was never a 3-point shooter throughout his career, whereas Haliburton is coming off a sophomore season at Iowa State that saw him shoot nearly 42 percent from three.
Not only were the Warriors already interested in Haliburton, but if they draft him at No. 2, they’ll get the kind of player that will thrive in a spot where they’ve already had success, but with a bonus in the 3-point shooting department.
Why Tyrese wants the Warriors
This one is really self-explanatory. If Haliburton wants a good shot at a ring, the Warriors are the safest team in the lottery for that to happen.
Unlike other teams that sit in the lottery, Golden State is already a legitimate NBA Finals contender that struck bad luck with one year of injuries. When Curry and Thompson are back, the Warriors will, once again, shoot themselves back to the top of the Western Conference.
Haliburton might not be able to start his career out as a teams' No. 1 option, or No. 2 option or even the No. 3 option, but he has the chance to accomplish something his former Iowa State teammate, Talen Horton-Tucker, did with the Lakers and win a championship in his rookie season.
Having opposing defenses put their focus on guarding Curry and Thompson gives Haliburton his best opportunity to come in and knock down open jump shots. This also lessens the worry about his size if he doesn’t have to worry about being guarded heavily by opposing defenders.
The Warriors' success with a small ball lineup will still allow Golden State to be a Finals contender right from the start and would let Haliburton play alongside two of the best shooters in NBA history.
For the Warriors, they get a guy they’ve already shown interest in and can easily compare him to former players to see how he would transition into the NBA. For Haliburton, he’ll be able to get mentored by some of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters in history while also being in Finals contention for years to come.