Tyrese Haliburton

Hali believes Dubs would've drafted him if they didn't have No. 2 pick

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Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton is one of the NBA's fastest-rising stars, and the Warriors had the chance to select him in the 2020 NBA Draft.

But with Golden State holding the draft's No. 2 overall pick, Haliburton didn't quite make sense as the choice at the time -- and he believes the Warriors would have selected him had they sat lower in the draft. His pre-draft workout with the Warriors went well, but it just wasn't in the cards.

“Yeah, I did [consider the possibility],” Haliburton told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami in an exclusive interview. “I was disappointed that they [had] the No. 2 pick because I felt like if they were anywhere out of the top three, I felt like I was going to be the pick.”

As Dub Nation knows, the Warriors went on to select James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick. The rest is history, as they say, and hindsight truly is 20/20. Wiseman had a tumultuous Warriors tenure plagued by injuries and a pandemic, never able to produce the way Golden State envisioned he would.

And with the 12th pick of the 2020 draft, the Sacramento Kings selected Haliburton. He went on to thrive with the Kings in his rookie season before he was traded to the Pacers as part of a package for Domantas Sabonis.

The Warriors ultimately traded Wiseman away, too, sending him to the Detroit Pistons as part of the four-team deal that brought Gary Payton II back to the Bay at last season's trade deadline. Meanwhile, Haliburton has thrived with Indiana, catching national attention on the NBA In-Season Tournament stage this season and turning into a bonafide star.

The Warriors loved all the upside Wiseman's 7-foot frame could have provided for the team, but it's easy to look back now and wonder what could have been with Haliburton. Former Warriors general manager Bob Myers even believes he should have seen the signs that Haliburton would become a star.

"Let's talk about that. That workout was a few miles from here in Vegas," Myers said on Dec. 7 during "NBA Today," reflecting on Golden State's pre-draft workout with Haliburton. "[With] myself, Steve Kerr, Joe Lacob and he did what he does. He made a ton of shots and we looked at each other and said, 'He might be pretty good.' Different kind of shot, kind of a set shot, but he made them all.

"What bothers me more than anything was his workout was good, [but] when we met with him after, I should have known then because of how he is as a person and as a leader. Because you meet with people, you talk to them. But that conversation left a mark because of how smart he is and how confident [he is]. It's not fake, it's not arrogant, it's confidence."

Drafting Wiseman at No. 2 in 2020 wasn't the franchise-altering move many believed it could be, for better or for worse. The Warriors still went on to win another NBA championship in 2022, and the future is bright now with 2023 draft picks Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis leading another youth-infused renaissance in Kerr's rotation.

And in Indiana, Haliburton is charting his own path rather than thinking about the "what-ifs."

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