NBA Awards Rankings: New No. 1 in MVP race

Tyrese Haliburton is that dude.

Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers
Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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. 100. 1. Guard. player. . Pacers. Tyrese Haliburton. 1. Tyrese Haliburton

The Indiana Pacers' thrilling run to the IST championship game opened a lot of eyes to what is cooking in Indianapolis. Tyrese Haliburton has been the best guard in the NBA to date, but now it's time to consider whether or not he has been the best player to date. He is the engine behind the NBA's best offense, averaging 26.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 12.1 assists on .525/.441/.884 splits.

Haliburton recently became the first player in NBA history to record 50+ points and 25+ assists without recording a turnover in a two-game span. He has accomplished that feat twice this season. He leads the NBA in assists and he's averaging 2.2 turnovers per game — the lowest mark of his career since he became a full-time starter.

It's difficult to wrap one's head around to extent to which Haliburton is impacting the game on offense. The Pacers' defense needs a ton of work — and Haliburton isn't blameless for Indy's inability to get stops — but the offense has led them to a 12-8 record with ample room to grow. We are starting to hear buzz around Haliburton recruiting stars to Indiana based on his natural charm and selfless play style, which encourages ball movement, a fast tempo, and easy points.

How can one not lean into the cliches with Haliburton? He plays the game the right way. Every decision is the right one. He knows when to attack, when to bury the defense with a pull-up 3, or when to move the ball. He processes the game at an absurd speed, reading the defense multiple steps in advance and consistently delivering on-target passes — either in the flow of the offense or as the head of the offense.

The 23-year-old currently leads the NBA in offensive box plus-minus (11.5) and assist percentage (48.2), with a career-best 67.4 true shooting percentage and career-low turnover percentage (10.0) to accompany the loftiest counting stats of his young career.

Indiana has announced its presence as a legitimate team to watch in the East, with Haliburton emerging as the ultimate star guard who can get his own and elevate teammates in equal measure.

Next. 9 stars Tyrese Haliburton needs to recruit to join the Pacers. 9 stars Tyrese Haliburton needs to recruit to join the Pacers. dark