Why Tyrese Haliburton Would be Perfect on the Chicago Bulls

Why Tyrese Haliburton Would be Perfect on the Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are in a pretty good position in this year’s draft. While they just missed out on a top 3 pick, they have several good options. Players like Killian Hayes, Deni Avdija and Isaac Okoro are likely to be available. However I believe that Tyrese Haliburton is the best pick for the team. 

Tyrese Haliburton is one of the best all-around players in the 2020 NBA Draft. He brings great passing skills, smart shot selection and both on and off ball defense. There are three big question marks to Haliburton’s game however, these include his shooting form, his skinny frame and his inability to create seperation on offense. On the Bulls, Haliburton’s lack of separation would not be that noticeable alongside Zach LaVine and Coby White. 


Stats from Sports-Reference.com

Haliburton was elite in the NCAA on both sides of the floor. Haliburton was able to average 15.2 points per game and 6.5 assists with a usage rate of only 20.1%. Haliburton’s stats are very similar to Lonzo Ball’s in College. However, Ball was a bad free throw shooter, shooting only 67.3% from the FT line. Free throw percentages are usually used to predict whether a player can develop into an NBA level shooter. Haliburton’s 82.2% free throw percentage is far more promising. Unfortunately Haliburton did not shoot a high volume of free throws with only 2 attempts a game.

Haliburton shot 50.4% from the field, 41.9% from deep and made 59.2% of his two pointers attempted. These stats are highly promising. However his skinny frame may lead to him not being able to achieve percentages like this in the NBA until he can put on some muscle. 

Haliburton boasts a solid 2.3 assist to turnover ratio. His 6.5 assists per game with only a 20.1% usage rate show that he makes quick and unselfish passes. This will allow him to fit in a system with multiple ball handlers. 

Team Fit

Haliburton’s low-ish usage percentage should allow him to thrive alongside Coby White and Zach LaVine. Billy Donovan likes to run multiple ballhandlers, and Haliburton’s ability to be a non-ball-dominant guard would benefit the team greatly. 

New Bulls coach Billy Donovan could run a very similar lineup to his OKC lineup, with Haliburton at PG, White at SG, LaVine at SF (like how he ran Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at the 3), Lauri Markkanen at PF (like Gallinari) and Wendell Carter Jr at C (like Steven Adams). This lineup overachieved based on how good they were projected to be. Imagine how a younger, more athletic version of this lineup could turn out under Donovan. Haliburton’s playmaking and passing abilities would lead to him creating a lot of shooting and fastbreak opportunities for this team. 

LaVine and White are good shot creators, Haliburton can play well as an off ball cutter and spot up shooter. This would allow for a seamless fit.

Haliburton would instantly eject playmaking and defense into this lineup. He could potentially replace Dunn’s role on defense, while taking on Tomas Satoransky’s playmaking duties on offense. If Haliburton is not ready to start in his first two years in the NBA, he would also be a very valuable backup PG, with the potential to be a good starter in the future. 

Photo of Billy Donovan by Dennis Adair


I really hope the Bulls draft Tyrese Haliburton. In my opinion this is the most natural fit out of all NBA teams and draft prospects in this year’s draft. Haliburton is a great fit for both the Bulls present and future. His combination of defense, playmaking and spot up shooting should allow for him to contribute immediately. 

While Deni Avdija looks like a better fit on paper, I think that he is a much riskier prospect for the Bulls. Avdija is a very poor free throw shooter, and as seen from Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz and Justise Winslow, poor free throw shooting often leads to bad NBA shooting. While Avdija is a good passer, he does not yet have the ballhandling abilities to go ballhandler, limiting his playmaking. If the Chicago management and coaching staff are convinced Avdija can shoot, I would be more inclined to wanting him drafted by the Bulls. However I still think Haliburton is the better pick for them. Gery Woelfl has suggested that Haliburton is in contention at the top of the draft, with both Minnesota and Golden State interviewing him. Chad Ford of NBABigBoard.com has also suggested that Haliburton is in the top 4 best players of the draft. Anything could happen in this year’s draft, but I truly hope that Haliburton finds his way to Chicago.

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Iowa State Cyclones Men’s Basketball Game, Wednesday, January 2, 2019, Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, OK. Courtney Bay/OSU Athletics