Rookie Tyrese Haliburton shares what makes Kyrie Irving so difficult to guard
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Rookie Tyrese Haliburton shares what makes Kyrie Irving so difficult to guard

No matter how good of a defensive player you are, there’s really not much you can do against the Brooklyn Nets‘ potent offense. They were scary without James Harden, but now they are like an unstoppable force. The Nets have recorded eight straight wins, and they haven’t had Kevin Durant for an extensive period of time. The duo of Harden and Kyrie Irving is balling out, and the Nets are currently sitting in second place in the Western Conference with a 22-13 record.

So it’s never pleasant to play against them. It gets even more unpleasant if you’re a rookie who’s just not used to such a high level of play, and that’s what happened to Tyrese Haliburton. The Sacramento Kings rookie point guard was on The Old Man and the Three with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter, in which he talked about the difficulties in guarding Kyrie and how he received his welcome to the NBA moment.

“We’ve played against Brooklyn, but without KD. And from the beginning until the end of the game, it was just bucket, bucket, iso, bucket… They’re getting to whatever they want to get to. It’s crazy. The biggest one for me is in transition. Kyrie is coming down, and I’m the first one back. So I got to check him. He takes it, backs up, gets into iso, hits a hundred moves, then steps back into a three, and as he let’s it go, James yells over, ‘Can I have this dance Kyrie’ and it goes nothing but net. I’m like, oh my god, let’s just get back to the offense. It’s ridiculous. They’ll always get to their spot no matter what you do,” Haliburton said.

Tyrese Haliburton, via JJ Redick Podcast

In Haliburton’s defense, he was up against the most efficient isolation players in the league. KD has a 65.3% effective field goal percentage, Kyrie has 63.6%, and Harden has 61.7%. The Kings have the worst defensive rating in NBA history and have lost their nine straight games. They have held an opponent under 100 points only once this season, so the rookie doesn’t need to feel bad about his struggles against the Nets.