There is mounting evidence that the Kings caught lightning in a bottle when they drafted Tyrese Haliburton, even if there still isn’t a Rookie of the Year campaign mounting for him — don’t worry though, the GOAT Tom Ziller is a believer.
In the annual survey of general managers conducted by NBA.com, 43 percent of GMs called Haliburton the steal of the draft considering he was taken at no. 12. Last year’s steal was Nickeil Alexander-Walker, so it’s unclear if any of these executives know what they’re talking about. Then again, they probably would have drafted Haliburton earlier if they had any sense.
Despite the recognition of Haliburton’s value at this draft slot, the Sacramento rookie didn’t get any consideration for Rookie of the Year. Only top-10 picks received votes, led by LaMelo Ball with a 39 percent plurality. Zion Williamson was last year’s pick; that New Orleans Kool-Aid doesn’t appear to have worked out for the GMs.
What was even more surprising was that Haliburton didn’t get any votes for being the best player in five years from this rookie class, a category that was won by James Wiseman with 36 percent of the vote. More lack of creativity from the executives here, as top-10 picks once again earned all the votes.
One other King cracked the survey, as De’Aaron Fox earned 12 percent of the votes for breakout player in 2020-21. He won this category last year, and considering he parlayed his 2019-20 season into a max extension, it’s safe to say Fox proved his star power.
All of these results are certainly more positive than the survey conducted by The Athletic this week. In a poll of 13 executives, 10 front office personnel, six scouts and two coaches, Vivek Ranadivé edged out Robert Sarver by half a vote for worst owner in the NBA.
Fortunately for the Kings, Ranadivé appears to have finally hired a competent executive who has the freedom to executive his own vision. With Monte McNair, Fox, and Halibuton in Sacramento for years to come, the future looks much brighter for this team.