Editor's note: Over the next five weeks, the Iowa State Daily sports editors will be doing a series of 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 Washington Wizards are so interesting to me.
One part of me looks at this team and thinks, "If they just get John Wall back to near 100 percent health, this team could make a playoff run in the Eastern Conference," and then another part of me goes, "Is that a realistic expectation, and is this roster good enough to get there?"
However you view the Washington Wizards, nothing will change the fact that they hold the No. 9 pick (as of now) in the 2020 NBA Draft and are in need of some additions to the roster in order for the Wizards to return to the playoffs once again.
With that being said, here is why I think the Wizards should select Haliburton at No. 9 and why Haliburton would want to hear his name called on draft night by the Wizards.
Why the Wizards want Tyrese
The Wizards need more on their roster to be a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference, plain and simple.
Now, bringing back an All Star point guard in John Wall certainly helps, but unfortunately, can Wall truly be depended on as a roster asset who will be available consistently? I think the answer right now has to be no.
But if you want to make the argument that Wall will be back next season ready to go and will be on the floor for the majority of the season, that's fine. But long-term, I think the Wizards have to be thinking about who they can put in at the point after Wall leaves or possibly gets injured again. Wall's injury concerns put the franchise in an even tougher spot, as he is still owed $13 million over the next three years.
Better yet, why not draft a player who can learn behind Wall and even still have a chance to play the 1, 2 or 3 in the Wizard's starting lineup right now?
Tyrese Haliburton enters the equation.
If drafted at No. 9, Haliburton would bring the Wizards a true playmaker in the backcourt with Wall and Beal. Even if Wall remains the main ball handler and point guard in the 2020-21 season, the Wizards would be just fine if Haliburton is told to go back to his freshman year at Iowa State and be mainly a catch and shoot scorer.
And if you are of the belief that the Wizards can be Eastern Conference playoff contenders with a healthy Wall, why would you not take a player like Haliburton who could easily be thrown into the starting lineup and space the floor for the two proven guards for the Wizards?
Three-guard systems can work in today's NBA, especially with the idea of positionless basketball becoming a norm. The Wizards would be bold if they tried out Haliburton with Beal and Wall on the floor at the same time, but all the Wizards have to do is look at some playoff teams from last season and feel more confident.
The Houston Rockets would play Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Eric Gordon together, creating the so-called "small ball" that Iowa State would use in stretches last season. The Oklahoma City Thunder did a similar lineup move with Chris Paul paired with Dennis Schröder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
All told, the Wizards would be in a great spot if they drafted Haliburton. If they felt it was time to move away from Wall and plug in a new point guard for Beal to work with, Haliburton should be their choice. And if they wanted to explore the idea of a three-guard lineup, Haliburton would also fit in perfectly.
Why Tyrese wants the Wizards
Yes, every team picking in the lottery of the NBA Draft is an objectively bad team in terms of wins and losses, but there aren't too many teams picking in the top 10 with as much backcourt talent as the Washington Wizards with names like Beal and Wall.
And yes, if you're Tyrese Haliburton, a team having established guard play sounds like a bad thing if you want to play right away. But look closer, and the Wizards would fit Haliburton in nicely.
As a lottery pick, Haliburton would be expected to come into the league and average decent minutes with decent shooting numbers and take over some games to make analysts approve of the Wizards drafting him. But if you're Haliburton, I think playing off ball with two of the best guards in the NBA would work just fine to start an NBA career.
If I'm Haliburton, I would love to be able to sit back and let the facilitators kick it to me in half-court scenarios, where I am nothing but lights out from catch and shoot shots. Haliburton scored 1.49 points per catch and shot jump shots in the half court (98th percentile,) which is pretty good.
Haliburton has to think, "I am already used to not being the star for most of my career, and while I am being drafted mostly for my performance my sophomore season, I'd be content with starting off as a knockdown shooter next to two of the best guards in the NBA, similar to my situation in Ames my freshman year."