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Tyrese Haliburton opens up about Pascal Siakam-Pacers trade

Pascal Siakam

Pascal Siakam Tyrese Haliburton
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Tyrese Haliburton opens up about Pascal Siakam-Pacers trade

Mere weeks after trading OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks in exchange for Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett, the Toronto Raptors traded star forward Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers in a four-player, three-team trade earlier this week.

The Pacers enter Friday currently tied with the Miami Heat at 24-17 in the Eastern Conference, despite a recent injury to superstar point guard Tyrese Haliburton.

Haliburton, a soon-to-be 24-year-old, has had a transcendent second full season engineering the Pacers’ offense that ranks atop the league, scoring 121.7 points per 100 possessions–north of a point greater than the next-best team (Milwaukee Bucks — 120.5).

Haliburton opened up to the media Thursday ahead of their contest against the Sacramento Kings, his former team, about Siakam’s fit with the organization.

“I think anytime you add a top player in the world, that you will help your team…So adding him will be good,” Haliburton said, according to Pacers Clutch Points writer Christopher Smith. “It’s another guy that can score when needed. He’s a really good facilitator and he’ll fit right in with our group. He plays the way we want to play. He’s like fourth in transition field goal percentage and we score in transition better than anybody, so he’ll be a really good addition to our group.

Siakam’s having a (slightly) down year to his standards. The 6-foot-8 forward is averaging 22.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game, shooting 52.2 percent from the floor, 31.7 percent from 3-point range and 75.8 percent from the free-throw line. Though Siakam is about to play in the most spaced-out context of his career with Myles Turner and Jalen Smith manning the frontcourt (with Isaiah Jackson as a vertical spacer).

Siakam, 29, will also be able to hunt cross-matches in semi-transition and mismatches in the halfcourt with one of the NBA’s top playmakers (Haliburton) who can set him up. The Pacers are a high-octane offense, which perfectly suits his skill set.

Though Siakam’s still an above-average defender who will almost certainly elevate a Pacers defense that’s the fourth-worst leaguewide in non-garbage time situations, according to Cleaning The Glass, even if he doesn’t alleviate all of their concerns on that end of the floor.

“Everybody’s fighting to get a long wing who can defend and knock down threes,” he said. “[Siakam] can do all that and more. So we’ve got a player that every team in the NBA wants, and I think it’ll be really fun.”

Siakam will be a free agent this offseason. But it appears that both Siakam and Haliburton are excited to play alongside one another, where it could form one of the more dynamic two-man games in the East.

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