Is Gilbert Arenas Right in Stating That Tyrese Haliburton Is a More Impactful Player Than He Ever Was?

Published 12/19/2023, 7:27 AM EST

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The NBA In-Season Tournament recently drew to a close, bringing an exciting month of basketball games to an end. While most of the focus was on the big names, fans and analysts also placed special attention on some of the rising talent in the league. One name that stood out more prominently than anyone else’s was that of Indiana Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton. His performances have compelled Washington Wizards legend Gilbert Arenas to come out with a bold claim, allowing the Pacers star to be placed on a higher pedestal than himself.

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Despite having played in the NBA for only four seasons now, Haliburton has established himself as a force to be reckoned with. From delivering monster stat lines to breaking and setting new records, the 23-year-old is becoming a household name now.

Tyrese Haliburton crushes Gilbert Arenas in terms of overall stats

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During a recent episode of his podcast, Arenas showered massive praise on Haliburton. Referring to him as a “whole different breed”, Arenas complimented the Iowa State alumnus for how quickly he established himself as a competitive force. The 41-year-old then proceeded to compare Haliburton with himself, stating that while he himself was “impactful on getting the bucket”, Haliburton didn’t consider that to be his limit.

“When you’re talking about the whole game itself, he’s more impactful than I was,” said Arenas during the segment. “Mine was just scoring. His was putting the ball into the basket and getting the ball to a bunch of sorry players around.”

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Arenas is not wrong in stating that he wasn’t much of a “passing the ball” player. Over his 11-season career in the NBA, he only managed to average 5.3 assists per game. He touched his assists ceiling during the 2008-09 NBA season when he managed to average 10 assists per game. On the other hand, Haliburton’s career average is 8.4 APG. He has already surpassed Arenas’ best season, after averaging 10.4 APG last year. This season, he’s set to better that number as he is averaging 11.9 APG, leading the NBA.

Other than assists, Haliburton is also proving to be Arenas’ competition in terms of scoring ability. While the Wizards star averaged 19.4 points during his first four seasons, Haliburton has managed to average 17.1 points. Haliburton is currently averaging 24.7 points.

When talking about their impact as a point guard, one statistic that can help define their prowess is their ability to shoot threes. Arenas gained prominence for his ability to score highly from beyond the arc and managed to average 35.1% throughout his NBA career. However, Haliburton took over this statistic as well, since his average currently stands at an astonishing 41%. At 7.3 attempts made per game, Haliburton is currently tied with Luka Doncic for the league lead with the most pull-up 3-point attempts.

If Gilbert Arenas’ claim wasn’t enough to justify Haliburton as the superior player, then these stats should be more than sufficient.

Tyrese Haliburton’s passing ability is nothing short of amazing

Haliburton’s ability to shoot and pass the ball is something that has not been witnessed by NBA fans in a long time. Aside from his individual accolades, Haliburton’s skills have helped out his team as well. The player was a major factor in moving the Indiana Pacers‘ offensive rating from the 19 to the 1 position within a single season.

Gilbert Arenas is not the only one whose passing ability seems mediocre in comparison to the 23-year-old. Out of the top 10 players during the season who have made the most passes leading to a shot, Haliburton’s 98.0% completion rate is second only to 76ers point guard Tyrese Maxey (98.6%). Furthermore, Haliburton’s 5.4 assist-to-turnover ratio places him in the third position amongst other current point guards.

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Haliburton’s scoring and passing abilities have earned him praise from various NBA legends. From Paul Pierce admitting that he had “never seen this combination of shooting and passing” from any other point guard to Kevin Garnett nominating him for an MVP title, people couldn’t help but be left in amazement at how much this young individual has grown.

While it may be too early to state the same, there might be a chance that Tyrese Haliburton could signify the beginning of a new age of basketball. Former players like Gilbert Arenas carried the NBA forward during the 2000s through their on-court prowess and scoring abilities. The impact that they left on the game was nothing short of remarkable. However, with the changing dynamics of the league, players like Tyrese Haliburton are creating a much deeper impact and helping the NBA rise to a new level. Arenas acknowledges this fact, and so does the author.

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Editorial DisclaimerThe views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of EssentiallySports.

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Written by:

Ashmit Kumar

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One take at a time

I wanted to make use of my Bachelors in Journalism in a lucrative manner And what better way to do that than to venture into the world of sports? It?s something that everyone loves, enjoys and can have a lively discussion about. Prior to joining EssentiallySports, I watched NBA games with my friends, attempting to learn why they found the sport of basketball so fascinating. It didn?t take me long to get bitten by the NBA bug as well.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth

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