Despite initial disruption and judgment by the majority that they will be a lottery team, the Indiana Pacers are suddenly turning heads around. Off from a scorching start this 2021-22 season, the ball club has been defying odds under the brilliance and leadership of Tyrese Haliburton.
Haliburton, who was acquired by the Pacers in a shocker trade with the Sacramento Kings via midseason trade of the 2021-22 year, has been a “godsend” for the franchise according to coach Rick Carlisle.
“He immediately saw the opportunity to be the leader of a franchise,” Carlisle said of Haliburton, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. “He never looked at if it was just his thing just by virtue of being here. He knew he had to do the right things, put the work in, not skip steps. He’s done everything we could have asked. … Haliburton has been a godsend for this franchise.”
Felt betrayed by the fact that his commitment to them was thrown into the trash bin by the Kings, Haliburton quickly found a new home in the Pacers area. As such, he was welcomely given the keys of the franchise given the immense potential he possesses as a young and elite floor general.
This season, Haliburton is seizing every opportunity he has to navigate the whole system of Indiana’s basketball program. Registering 19.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and a league-leading 11.1 assists per game, the talented point man is on his way to a potential All-Star year while fully cementing himself as a future superstar of the league.
With the Pacers sporting the fourth-best record in the East so far with an 11-8 card, Haliburton noted his teammates’ unmoved traits and camaraderie as the primary fuel of their good start.
“There’s a lot of authentic people in this room,” Haliburton said. “And a lot of people who feel like we have something to prove. We don’t come with a lot of egos. We’re a lot of young guys who feel like we have a lot to prove to ourselves and others and understanding the best way for us to prove anything is to win. And obviously guys have a chip on our shoulder. Every major writer in America, it feels like, put us 15th in the East and 30th in the NBA.”