Indiana Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton is a cornerstone of the team's plans of the future, and the franchise is hoping he will go down as one of its all-time greats.
"We're gonna build our team around him," Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan told Alex Kennedy of Basketball News. "We see him as hopefully being the next Reggie Miller. We had a Reggie Miller mural painted on a building in downtown Indianapolis, and I think our dream is that one day Tyrese will have [his own] up somewhere in downtown Indianapolis."
Indiana acquired Haliburton at last season's trade deadline in February as part of the deal that sent All-Star power forward Domantas Sabonis to the Sacramento Kings. In 26 games for the Pacers, the 22-year-old averaged 17.5 points, 9.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from three-point range.
The Pacers are in the midst of a rebuild after finishing last season with a 25-57 record. Veteran point guard Malcolm Brogdon was traded to the Boston Celtics earlier this offseason, leaving Haliburton as the team's primary floor general.
Stepping into his first full season as Indiana's No. 1 option, Haliburton isn't shying away from the pressure of leading the team.
"As a kid, I would’ve f--kin' killed for this, so it's fun to be a part of," Haliburton told Kennedy. "And at the end of the day, it's just basketball. And the things in life that come with it, I'm just gonna be who I am and share my values on certain things... I just take it naturally and have fun with it. It’s a great opportunity for me."
The Pacers will open their 2022-23 campaign on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at home against the Washington Wizards.