Tyrese Haliburton discusses 'chip on his shoulder'…and asks for changes to In-Season Tournament format

    Indiana Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton has led his team into the semifinals of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament, where he’ll be taking on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday for a spot in the final on Saturday.

    Haliburton and his teammates practiced Wednesday in Las Vegas, where the semifinals and the final will be held. He posed with the NBA Cup and spoke to the media about his path to stardom and whether the In-Season Tournament format should be altered for 2024.

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    Haliburton ignores superstition — he touched the NBA Cup!

    When elite athletes are battling to win a trophy or some kind of silverware, it’s usually considered bad luck to touch the championship cup or trophy before it’s been officially awarded. But don’t tell that to Haliburton, who both posed with and touched the NBA Cup during Wednesday’s practice session open to the media.

    Haliburton poses with the NBA Cup.

    Haliburton poses with the NBA Cup.

    Haliburton’s path to this point has been lined by doubts — and doubters. A lightly-recruited three-star prospect out of Wisconsin, Haliburton worked himself into a lottery pick while playing at Iowa State University. But the team that drafted him — the Sacramento Kings — traded him less than two full seasons into his career.

    Now, he’s found a home in Indy, where he signed a max contract extension in July that will keep him with the Pacers through 2028.

    Haliburton “curious” whether tournament format will change

    Haliburton on Wednesday admitted that he had some trouble getting to sleep following Monday’s win over the Boston Celtics — one of the biggest nights in the history of the Pacers franchise, as it clinched a spot in the In-Season Tournament semifinals.

    “To get a taste of playing on national TV is cool,” Haliburton said. “You want to keep doing it, and you’ve got to win to do that.”

    The Pacers point guard is doing his best to turn the page from the win over Boston, knowing that star-studded Milwaukee will want revenge for a 126-124 loss to Indiana last month.

    “The better we play, the more love we’re gonna get,” Haliburton said. “We’ve got to take that in stride and understand that can be a poison in a sense at the same time.”

    When asked whether he wished to see changes made to the In-Season Tournament for its second go-round in 2024/25, Haliburton said he wants to “avoid the tiebreaker mess” that confused fans and upset certain players.

    “I’m curious to see what changes next year,” Haliburton said. “Maybe playing a couple more games, maybe outside of your group or in the other conference, playing more games to have different scenarios with tiebreakers and make it make a little more sense.”

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