KEY POINTS

  • Tyrese Haliburton says fans should be on the lookout for the Sacramento Kings
  • They were close to a play-in berth last season but missed out after losing to the Spurs
  • Haliburton also reveals that he meshes particularly well with De'Aaron Fox

Sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton is out to prove that he belongs in the NBA, and he has a message to a certain group of people that are counting on the Sacramento Kings to fail.

"The casual fan is more focused on the top two or three teams in each conference. We lost that game to San Antonio [Spurs] at home that would have really put us in good position to make the play-in game [last season],” Haliburton told Bleacher Report.

The Kings have been languishing at the bottom of the Western Conference, punctuated by a 15-year long drought of not making the playoffs--the longest in the league.

The Iowa State product was drafted by the Kings at the 12th spot, a surprising turn of events after being projected to go as high as the number two pick by the Golden State Warriors.

Haliburton shined in his rookie year, averaging 13 points on 47.2 percent shooting from the field to go along with 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 58 games.

For his efforts, the 20-year-old was named as a finalist for Rookie of the Year honors and was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Haliburton has already been elevated to co-captain status due to how polished his game is, as well as the amount of respect he commands this early into his career.

The combo guard also revealed that he and De’Aaron Fox are meshing well together as the de facto leaders due to their point guard duties.

“We're very like-minded when it comes to wanting to win, wanting to do the right things. A lot of times my voice is heard a little bit more because he's [De’Aaron Fox] a quiet guy. We've become really close, so leading and communicating is second nature for us," he stated.

Haliburton also hinted that the Kings will be trotting out three-guard lineups, like that of the mid-2010s Phoenix Suns but hopefully without the disasters that came along with it.

With a guard-heavy lineup made more complicated after drafting Davion Mitchell, many believe that the Kings will be moving Buddy Hield very soon.

A Hield deal was close to completion this summer for Kyle Kuzma, as revealed by the former Los Angeles Laker in early September.

The Kings look for an end to their postseason drought as they visit the Portland Trail Blazers for their season opener on Wednesday, October 20.