Observations on Tyrese Haliburton, Isaiah Livers, and Franz Wagner

November 28th, 2019

by Alan Lu

Recently, I took the time to watch Iowa State’s 6-5 sophomore guard, Tyrese Haliburton play against the Michigan Wolverines in a November 27th game that took place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as I was able to see this via WatchESPN. Haliburton has seen his draft stock soar over the past couple of months to the point where he’s considered to be a serious candidate to go in the lottery of the 2020 draft. Meanwhile, Michigan has been well-coached year in and year out, and it provided an opportunity to see how far they’ve come along under first year head coach, Juwan Howard. Haliburton uncharacteristically looked to score early and often, but Michigan was able to play a solid team game to earn the victory. Here are my thoughts on how Haliburton and other prospects fared in this contest.

Iowa State's sophomore guard, Tyrese Haliburton had a fairly solid showing in his team's loss to Michigan at the Battle 4 Atlantis.  (Photo: Randy Peterson/Detroit Free Press.)
Iowa State’s sophomore guard, Tyrese Haliburton had a fairly solid showing in his team’s loss to Michigan at the Battle 4 Atlantis. (Photo: Randy Peterson/Detroit Free Press.)

Iowa State’s sophomore point guard, Tyrese Haliburton played fairly well in his team’s loss to Michigan. He was able to stuff the stat sheet by scoring 25 points while collecting 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block in this match. While he didn’t score very efficiently in this game, Haliburton showed off solid athletic gifts and scoring skills, and he also excelled defensively as he is a rangy defender that can make a lot of plays to help his team get stops.

Haliburton did a decent job of scoring on quick, aggressive drives to the basket. He has a solid first step off the dribble, and though he tends to favor going right, he still managed to do a good job of scoring on tough runners and layups off the glass. He also has very good foot speed and acceleration to push the ball up the court, and he was able to throw down a high-flying, two-handed dunk on the break after getting a intercepting an opponent’s pass. He also managed to utilize a drop step move to score in the post.

Plus, Haliburton also flashed the ability to knock down jumpers on offense. He can knock down spot-up threes when he is given ample time and space to get his shot off, but he also was able to make a three-point shot from well beyond the arc once. He also was able to dribble out of the post to make a pull-up, mid-range jumper. However, he seems to have a slow, awkward release, as defenders can quickly close in on it, which can make it tougher for him to get his shot off. Haliburton also has a high, shot-put delivery, as he pushes the ball away from his body in an extremely short motion. Because of this, he is struggling a bit to adapt to this year’s longer 3-point line. His low release may make it difficult for him to adjust to longer distances because he does not get enough natural power on his shot. Though he took a lot of threes in this game against Michigan, he also missed plenty of them, as he really had trouble making pull-up jumpers in this contest.

He also displayed fairly good playmaking skills. Haliburton is a very good passer that sees the floor well, as he can throw sharp, long passes on the break to set up scores for his teammates, and he also passes well off the dribble. He can throw pinpoint passes to find teammates on the move. On the other hand, he did commit a couple of turnovers, as he would sometimes be careless with his passes that would get intercepted by his defenders.

In addition, Haliburton did a great job of rebounding the basketball. He would chase down balls to get numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to push the ball up the court after getting defensive rebounds for his team.

Adding to that, Haliburton also played very good defense. He is an active help defender that can make a lot of plays on the ball, which can enable him to get many steals and blocks in games.  Haliburton did a great job of jumping passes to get steals, and he can cover a lot of ground to do so. Plus, he also hustled back on defense, as he leapt up to make a nice chase down block to prevent an opponent from scoring on a drive in transition due to possessing solid leaping ability, recovery, and timing to do so. Also, he is an agile player that will fight through screens and has solid footwork to defend his man out on the perimeter, and he also was able to contest a mid-range shot to force a miss. However, he also can be a bit undisciplined at times, as he committed a foul on a roll man trying to intercept a pass, and he also bit on a pump fake which led his team to allow an opponent to score on a mid-range shot.

In general, Tyrese Haliburton is a tall, agile playmaker that looked to play very aggressively in his team’s loss to Michigan, and he also was hunting for his own shots much more often in this game. He will need to improve his jump shot and he may need to fix his shooting mechanics, but he is a talented prospect that possesses strong playmaking and defensive skills, as that could allow him to be a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid first round range of the 2020 draft.

Isaiah Livers played very well in Michigan's win over Iowa State.  (Photo: Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports via Detroit Free-Press.)
Isaiah Livers played very well in Michigan’s win over Iowa State in the Battle 4 Atlantis. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports via Detroit Free-Press.)

Michigan’s 6-7 junior forward, Isaiah Livers had a solid showing in his team’s win over Iowa State. He is an energetic, gritty player that shoots the ball well, and he also played solid defense when he was on the court.

Livers did a very good job of knocking spot-up threes off the catch to space the floor for his team, and he also managed to score on a quick cut to the hoop while drawing an extra free throw on a separate play. However, he struggled more to score off the dribble, as he had trouble scoring on contested runners, and he also was not able to make pull-up, mid-range jumpers on a consistent basis.

He also was fairly turnover prone on offense. Though he can handle the basketball in open spaces, Livers had trouble handling ball pressure, as he was called for a charging foul on a high post drive. He also tried posting up another time, but had his pass picked off by a defender.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this contest, Livers was able to leap up to collect a few defensive boards to help his team on the glass.

Also, he played solid defense. Livers did a good job of playing passing lanes to get steals and deflections, and he also was able to jump on a loose ball to help his team get another steal. He also is a strong, combo forward that managed to hold his ground when defending in the post to force a miss. He also almost made a nice chase down block on a drive in transition, as he displayed very good leaping ability and motor that time, but it didn’t count because his teammate had committed a foul earlier on the play. Sometimes though, he can be overly aggressive on the defensive end, as he was called for hand-checking when defending his man off the ball.

In summary, Isaiah Livers had a good game in his team’s win over Iowa State, as he is a tough, gritty player that can shoot and score the basketball. Right now, he is having a solid junior season, and he is a second round prospect that could project into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA.

Michigan's freshman guard, Franz Wagner had an up and down game, but he had some good moments in his team's win over Iowa State. (Photo: Tim Aylen/Battle 4 Atlantis via The Detroit News.)
Michigan’s freshman forward, Franz Wagner had an up and down game, but he had some good moments in his team’s win over Iowa State. (Photo: Tim Aylen/Battle 4 Atlantis via The Detroit News.)

 

Michigan’s 6-7 freshman swingman, Franz Wagner had an uneven performance in his team’s victory over Iowa State, but he was able to have some good moments at times against them.

Wagner did a good job of making open corner threes to space the floor for his team, but he also struggled to score off the dribble when looking to attack the basket. He also is an unselfish player that will keep the ball moving on offense, and he was able to haul in his fair share of boards in this game.

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average. Wagner managed to rotate to block a shot on a put back attempt due to possessing good leaping ability and timing, and he also managed to deflect a pass on a separate play. He also will close out on shooters to help force misses. On the other hand, he had trouble staying with quicker ball handlers off the dribble, as he would tend to commit fouls and allow scores, and he ended up fouling out of this contest.

Overall, Franz Wagner is a high-motor swingman that showed off some shooting and defensive skills in his first game of the season. Though he may not possess great physical tools, he did a good job of making open jumpers, and he was able to make a solid shot block on the defensive end.   If he has a strong season this year, he could perhaps project to go in the second round as a shooting specialist in the association.

Michigan’s 7-1 senior center, Jon Teske had a decent showing in his team’s win over Iowa State. He was plagued with early foul trouble, as he had a penchant for setting moving screens in the first half, but he really got into the flow of this game, as he shot the ball well early in the second half, and was able to get a handful of defensive stops to help get his team the victory.

Teske did a very good job of knocking jumpers to space the floor for his team. He was able to make open mid-range jumpers off the catch, and he also made a spot-up three to show his range from beyond the arc. Plus, he also managed to throw down a powerful dunk off of a roll to the rim, as he can catch balls on the move.

On the other hand, he was fairly turnover prone in this game. For the positives, he was able to find an open shooter to set up a score for a teammate, and he also was able to set a good off-ball screen to help get his teammate an open jump shot once. However, he tended to set moving screens that would lead him to pick up offensive fouls, and he also threw an errant pass that ended up getting picked off by a defender.

Teske also did a good job of rebounding the basketball. He was able to leap up to haul in plenty of defensive boards, but he also was called for going over the back on an offensive rebounding attempt once early in the second half.

He also played fairly average defense in this game. For the positives, Teske is an active interior defender that will contest shots in the paint to force misses, and he also was able to get his hands on a pass to help his team get a steal. However, he would tend to sag too far off of shooters, as he would allow them to score on a barrage of mid-range shots. He also occasionally struggled to defend in the post, as he was called for a reach-in foul once, and he also didn’t show much resistance, which led him to allow a score late in this contest.

Overall, Jon Teske had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Iowa State, but he played fairly well down the stretch, as he was able to make big shots in the second half. He is a tall, fairly mobile big man that can knock down jumpers and defend in the paint, but he will need to stay away from foul trouble and improve his on-ball defense. Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the 2020 draft, but if he can make his way to the NBA, he could perhaps project into a backup center role for the next level.

Michigan’s 6-0 senior point guard, Zavier Simpson played fairly well in his team’s win over Iowa State. He excelled at attacking the basket to garner scores, as he excelled at making floaters off the dribble, and he also has good strength to finish plays around the basket.

Simpson often looked to pass the basketball, and he was able to net a lot of assists, but he also committed many turnovers as well. For the positives, he plays well when he operates under control, as he can kick balls out to shooters, and he can throw sharp, long passes to set up scores for his teammates.   However, Simpson does not have a great first step to the hoop, and he can sometimes play too wildly, which would cause him to over-dribble to commit ball-handling turnovers, and he also threw inaccurate passes that would either get intercepted or sail out of bounds.

Also, Simpson did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He also played perhaps above average defense. He can intercept passes and poke balls away to get steals and deflections, but he also was foul prone, as he had a tendency to foul shooters due to over-aggressiveness.

Overall, Zavier Simpson is a reliable game manager that can get his team into the flow of the offense, and he also made shots efficiently even though he didn’t take many of them. He did commit too many turnovers, but he also managed to rack up a big assist total in his team’s win over Iowa State. He’ll need to show that he can make jumpers and be able to create his own shot more in big games, and he’ll have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball, but his ability to run a team could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA.

Iowa State’s 6-10, sophomore center, George Conditt IV did not have his best game, but he was able to get a couple of scores around the basket due to possessing good running speed, strength, and hands to do so. However, sometimes he would get his shots blocked in the paint, and he also missed on a mid-range jump shot.

He also was fairly turnover prone, as he was called for a traveling violation when posting up once, and he also was called for setting a moving screen. Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average. He was able to block a shot, as he was able leap up to swat a shot to a teammate to help force a miss.

Overall, Conditt is an athletic big man that could project to be a defensive specialist in the NBA. He will need to improve his face-up game and be a more skilled player on offense, and he will have to consistently get playing time, but if he can make strides to improve over time, he could perhaps end up finding a way his onto an NBA team’s roster at the next level.