Update: The Cavaliers won the game 120-113 but Hield and Haliburton had phenomenal debuts. The former nearly posted a triple-double with 16 points, eight assists and nine rebounds. Haliburton poured in 23 points and grabbed three steals as well.
It’s only one half of one game, but the Sacramento Kings might’ve made a major mistake in their pursuit of a play-in tournament spot. The Kings made a trade with the Indiana Pacers to acquire big man Domantas Sabonis in their playoff push, sending Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield to the Pacers in the deal.
In their debut for their new team against the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday, the new guards shined. Haliburton finished the first half with 14 points on 6-7 shooting and added four assists, while Hield had nine points, six assists and three rebounds. With Malcolm Brogdon out, both players got extended run and look like excellent contributors both now and in the future for Indiana. The Pacers hold a 74-63 lead over the Cavs at the break.
The Pacers got a great young player in Haliburton, who can play either guard spot and looks like a franchise cornerstone in the making. Hield has struggled this season but remains a strong scorer who could get better looks in Indiana with more shooters around him. His contract is also a bargain.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Haliburton is +20000 to win Most Improved Player and Hield is +8000 to win Sixth Man of the Year. We’ll see if these two can keep up the good work for Indiana and make Sacramento regret yet another decision it made while improving their odds for these respective awards.