The Kings were thrilled internally to draft Tyrese Haliburton with the no. 12 pick, and the reaction around the league was equally positive for the selection. Here’s a roundup of some the grades the organization received for the first draft pick of Monte McNair’s tenure, as well as the second-round picks of Robert Woodard II and Jahmi’us Ramsey.
(If you’re interested, our staff also threw in our two cents on the whole draft).
Monte McNair’s first draft with the Kings was a rousing success, and it started by snatching up a falling Haliburton, who was ranked sixth in the CBS Sports Prospect Rankings. Sacramento followed that up with Woodard, a tremendous defensive wing prospect, and Ramsey, a straight bucket-getter and knock-down 3-point shooter. This was a great start for the new regime in Sacramento. Grade: A
USA Today gave the Kings the second-highest grade of the night behind Charlotte:
Sacramento Kings (A). The steal of this draft might be Iowa State point guard Tyrese Haliburton at No. 12. Then the franchise went out and made a major splash with great second-round selections and acquisitions. They hauled in Mississippi State’s Robert Woodard (No. 40) and Texas Tech’s Jahmi’us Ramsey (No. 43) – all late draftees that could’ve easily been first-rounders.
Sacramento Kings: A
Tyrese Haliburton doesn’t sport the physical tools of the top players in this draft, but he could be one of the most effective pieces as a rookie. The Iowa State product is a skilled playmaker and unselfish passer, consistently bringing the best out of teammates with limited talent as a college player. Haliburton will be a nice complement to De’Aaron Fox, bringing an intelligence and craftiness that’s well suited to play alongside Sacramento’s lightning-quick star. It’s surprising Haliburton lasted this long. The Kings caught a major break as they look to break a 14-year playoff drought in 2020-21.
Bleacher Report went pick-by-pick but still had good things to say about Haliburton:
Originally thought to be a potential top-five prospect, Haliburton could be a massive steal for Sacramento if he continues the rate of improvement he showed at Iowa State. He can play alongside De’Aaron Fox as a spot-up shooter, and he has good defensive potential to boot.
Sporting News also was shocked by Haliburton falling so low, and credited the Kings for picking him up:
It was a surprise to see Haliburton slide outside the top 10, so Sacramento has to be ecstatic about this pick.
Outside shooting, playmaking, basketball IQ — the 6-5 guard is just solid in a lot of areas. He’s not an exceptional athlete, but Haliburton is a winning player.
Members of the Kings — and people around the league — shared their enthusiasm at seeing Haliburton picked as well, starting with Harrison Barnes. Barnes grew up in Ames, Iowa, where Haliburton attended school at Iowa State.
Ames legend! Let’s get to it big bro! https://t.co/et0NOOBIaT— Tyrese Haliburton (@TyHaliburton22) November 19, 2020
New broadcaster Mark Jones had rave reviews for Haliburton, and his comparison to Malcolm Brogdon would be an ideal outcome for the Kings.
Tyrese Haliburton is a great get for @SacramentoKings...BIG WIN for the Kings.— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) November 19, 2020
Impressive player,impressive person. Execs were blown away by his talent and interviews. His interviews were on the Malcom Brogdon legendary level.
Haliburton can score,defend and makes ppl better
Harry Giles is a fan of Haliburton. Hopefully, the two get a chance to play together if Giles chooses to stay in Sacramento.
Congrats Brodie @TyHaliburton22 welcome to the city! One of the best places in the world. They city going to show the best luv you ever seen— Harry Giles III (@HGiiizzle) November 19, 2020
Perhaps the most special praise for Haliburton came from Magic Johnson, a player he said he modeled his game after. As he told the media Thursday, “My dad had me watch a lot of 90s clips and watch a lot of 90s basketball. So, you know, Magic Johnson is a big inspiration to my game. He tweeted me yesterday, so that was a dream come true. I tried to be as cool calm, collected as possible when I saw that, but that’s kind of just been the inspiration of my game.”
Magic? Like.. Magic Johnson!?!? I appreciate the love Hope to meet you in person soon and pick your brain! Much love! https://t.co/VqJr3Xa983— Tyrese Haliburton (@TyHaliburton22) November 19, 2020
The work is just beginning for Haliburton, Woodard, and Ramsey to show that they worthy of this praise, but they all seem eager to prove that they are.