Peterson: NBA scouts still see Tyrese Haliburton as draft lottery pick

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Iowa State Star Tyrese Haliburton is questionable in Wednesday at Oklahoma — at least

Des Moines Register

AMES, Ia. — Tyrese Haliburton is still a likely lottery pick if he chooses to pursue his NBA Draft future this spring.

At worst, he’s still a first-rounder, so missing this Iowa State season’s final 10 or so games while recovering from a broken wrist isn’t likely to jeopardize his lifelong goals.

Assuming he turns pro after this season, he should be the Cyclones’ first NBA first-rounder since Houston picked Royce White in 2012. If anyone thought Haliburton was returning for what would be his junior season … I suppose there’s nothing wrong with dreaming.

“The way the medical care is now is so sophisticated, that a sprained wrist, and even with a fracture, there’s nothing that will hurt his (NBA) future,” a scout told me Monday morning. “He’s already helped himself enough.

“At the end of the day and assuming no complications, he’ll be fine (in regard to the NBA).”

I checked in with another scout with whom I occasionally converse. Same story.

“He’s already done enough to put himself in position for the draft,” he told me on condition of anonymity. “The teams that like him in the lottery, they’ll still like him in the lottery. The teams that don’t think he’s a lottery pick will still pick him in the first round.”

It’s horrible news for Haliburton, though. It’s bad for Iowa State (10-13, 3-7 Big 12 Conference), too, which will be hard-pressed (maybe literally, against defensive-minded teams such as West Virginia and Texas Tech) to win. No one wants to see anyone suffer a season-ending injury, especially when it’s a good guy such as Haliburton.

What’d he do after missing the final 15 or so minutes of Saturday night’s game against Kansas State at Hilton Coliseum? He did what he usually does, win or lose. He mingled with family. He posed for selfies with fans. He answered our questions after what happened on the play with 50 seconds to go before intermission.

We suspected some form of the news we received late Monday morning. That Iowa State’s best player, the potential lottery pick, was done for at least a few weeks.

But the rest of the season, and accelerating the end of his collegiate career?

He can concentrate on healing. He can put all his attention into getting ready for postseason NBA workouts, even if he doesn’t wind up entering the draft. Early entries can change their minds, you know.

He can work on strengthening his body. He can work on fighting through double-teams, slashing to the basket and on shooting accurately off the dribble. The NBA scouts have all that stuff in their notes during the during a sweet, but too short, past season-and-a-half at Iowa State.

After the final five minutes he played last Saturday were on a broken left wrist … scouts have now also seen his toughness.

Tyrese Haliburton is one tough future lottery pick.

Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writing for the Des Moines Register for parts of five decades. Reach him at rpeterson@dmreg.com, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at DesMoinesRegister.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.

Source: Des Moines Register