The rookie was asked about fellow first-year pro LaMelo Ball’s season-ending wrist injury and shared how he wasn’t pleased with some of the posts he saw on social media, celebrating that he would become one of the favorites to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
“It was kind of frustrating to see people tagging me and stuff and hitting me up, it seemed like people were excited or something,” Haliburton said. “I hated that. I think that’s terrible. LaMelo’s obviously had a really good year, a great rookie year. He’s really been hooping. It’s unfortunate what happened to him.”
Tyrese Haliburton wasn't happy with people tagging him after LaMelo Ball's season-ending injury pic.twitter.com/QYGt31BDV9— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) March 23, 2021
Haliburton alluded to the fact that he suffered the same wrist injury as Ball in college and how difficult it is to get back to full strength. Haliburton was all class when discussing the reactions to Ball’s injury.
“I thought it was unfortunate that people were kind of reaching out and seemed like people were excited,” Haliburton said. “I just thought that was garbage. I’m praying for him, I hope he heals up the right way.”
Ball leads all rookies in assists per game and sits second in both scoring and rebounding. Haliburton’s 12.7 points per game is fourth-best among first-year players, and he’s second in assists.
While it would mean a lot for Haliburton to win the award, he’s focused on bigger goals.
“I want to win games,” Haliburton said. “I want to be a part of the team that gets Sacramento back to the playoffs; I want to be part of the team that eventually brings Sacramento a championship.”
Haliburton’s main competition for the award is Anthony Edwards, who leads all rookies with 16.7 points per game. But Haliburton’s scoring totals should begin to climb as his minutes increase. Head coach Luke Walton has been capping the 21-year-old’s playing time since he returned from a wrist injury.
The Kings could also make some moves ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. Haliburton will be relied upon to step up and continue his high level of play if they deal away some veterans.