Prized Sacramento Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton won’t be taking home one of the NBA’s most prestigious awards.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball has beaten out Haliburton and No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball has been voted the NBA’s Rookie of the Year, sources tell ESPN. Announcement expected soon.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 16, 2021
Haliburton was drafted 12th overall in the 2020 NBA Draft. He finished third among all qualified rookies in scoring (13.0), second in assists (5.3), and third in 3-point percentage out of all rookies who had more than 100 attempts from beyond the arc. The Kings are confident Haliburton will be one of the franchise’s building blocks alongside point guard De’Aaron Fox.
Ball appeared in 51 games for the Hornets and led all first-years in assists (6.1); his 15.7 points per game were second only to Edwards among all NBA rookies.
Haliburton should get NBA All-Rookie first-team honors when the league makes the official announcement. Haliburton suffered a season-ending knee injury in a win over the Dallas Mavericks on May 2. The good news is that he has been cleared for on-court activities and says his knee feels 100 percent healthy.
During his exit interview, Haliburton touched on one area of his game he wants to focus on improving this offseason.
“Getting stronger is a big part — just kinda coming into my ‘man body’ or whatever, just living in the weight room,” Haliburton said. “At the same time, another important thing is just continuing to grow my relationships with my teammates.”
Although he didn’t win the Rookie of the Year award, Haliburton’s inaugural season can’t be considered anything but a success. The 21-year-old will be a big part of the Kings’ playoff charge next season.