'Definitely cool': Tyrese Haliburton finally gets his draft lottery experience
As part of the 2020 draft class that had all events altered due to the pandemic, Haliburton attended the lottery for the first time as the Pacers' representative.
CHICAGO — Tyrese Haliburton was part of the most unusual draft class. It was 2020, in the middle of the pandemic and so nothing went according to schedule.
There was no draft lottery, draft combine, pre-draft workouts or even a draft to attend. The Covid-19 virus wrecked that.
The draft lottery results were televised from the NBA’s offices in Secaucus, N.J. and each of the 14 team representatives appeared remotely. The Minnesota Timberwolves won the top pick, which they then used to add Anthony Edwards. Haliburton was eventually drafted 12th overall by the Sacramento Kings and they were notably represented by point guard De’Aaron Fox.
Pacers teammates Jalen Smith, Aaron Nesmith and Jordan Nwora were also part of that 2020 draft class.
Haliburton, though, is hooper. He doesn’t just play basketball, it’s a central part of who he is and what he is about.
So when Pacers president Kevin Pritchard approached him in April about serving as the team’s on-stage representative at the annual draft lottery, Haliburton didn’t have to give it much thought.
“Of course I said yes,” he said, speaking after the Spurs landed the No. 1 pick and the Pacers were slotted in 7th. “It was just good to be here. I’ve always wanted to be involved in something like this…”
The NBA Playoffs have now reached the conference finals portion of the schedule. But for the Pacers, who missed out on postseason play for the third straight year, their offseason started one month ago. And Haliburton used that time to travel — spending time in Mexico, The Bahamas, New York City and elsewhere.
Before traveling to Ames — home to Iowa State University — this upcoming weekend, the draft lottery brought him to Chicago on Tuesday. He did not carry out any superstitions, but he was sporting a stylish navy suit for his time on stage and appearing on the ESPN telecast at 8:16 p.m. ET.
“I’ve never been here so it was cool to be in the environment and see everybody,” he said. “Definitely cool to be here.”
Pritchard was in the drawing room, where the actual lottery goes down. Like he does in so many ways, Haliburton served as the public face of the team for when the lottery show started.
“He is kind of the face of the franchise,” Pritchard said with a smile. “The last time I was in the back was (2007) and I asked Brandon Roy to be in the front and we ended up getting the first pick.”