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Tyrese Haliburton is not an All-Star yet, but starter voting gives him reason to hope

By Dustin Dopirak, Indianapolis Star,


Tyrese Haliburton can't call himself an All-Star yet, but the Pacers point guard's showing in the voting for All-Star starters gives him reason for optimism that he'll be named as a reserve.

Haliburton finished fifth in the weighted voting for the two starting Eastern Conference backcourt spots. Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving and Cleveland's Donovan Mitchell finished first and second, respectively, to win their place on the team. Boston's Jaylen Brown and Philadelphia's James Harden finished third and fourth, respectively, followed in order by Haliburton, Chicago's DeMar DeRozan, Atlanta's Trae Young, Charlotte's LaMelo Ball, Cleveland's Darius Garland and New York's Jalen Brunson.

The voting for starters is done by a combined vote of fans, players and media. Each eligible player has a score calculated based on where they finished in the voting by each of the three parties. The fan vote makes up for half of the score with the player and media vote making up the other half.

Haliburton finished eighth in the fan voting, hindered by being in a small market in a conference that includes New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston. However, he was sixth in the player vote and third in the media vote, finishing behind only Mitchell and Brown.

The seven reserves in each conference are chosen by a poll of head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own players. The results of that vote will be announced on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. on TNT.

Haliburton would be the first Pacer to be named to the All-Star team since Domantas Sabonis in 2020-21. Haliburton was acquired from the Sacramento Kings along with Buddy Hield for Sabonis in February. The coaches vote could still be tight, however. Brown seems certain to claim one of the spots, and MVP candidate Joel Embiid was left out of the starting lineup because the Eastern Conference frontcourt was so loaded. Boston's Jayson Tatum, Brooklyn's Kevin Durant and Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Eastern Conference captain, earned those three spots. All four players are among the top eight scorers in the NBA.

With Embiid and Brown seemingly sure things, that leaves five spots to be filled from a pool that includes Harden, Haliburton, Young, DeRozan, Ball, Garland and Brunson as well as Miami's Jimmy Butler, Toronto's Pascal Siakam, Orlando's Paolo Banchero, Miami's Bam Adebayo, New York's Julius Randle and Washington's Kyle Kuzma, who rounded out the top 10 of the frontcourt vote.

Haliburton leads the Pacers in scoring with 20.2 points per game and leads the NBA in assists with 10.2 per game. He's also averaging 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game and is shooting 48.0% from the floor, 39.9% from the 3-point line and 88% from the foul line. His importance to the still-surprising Pacers has been most clearly felt during his absence.

The Pacers have lost eight of their past nine games since he left their Jan. 11 loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden with a left elbow sprain and left knee bone contusion. Prior to that injury, the Pacers had won eight of their previous 10 games and stood at 23-19, which put them in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings. They are now 24-26 and sit in ninth place, just a half game up on the 10th place Chicago Bulls and one game ahead of the Washington Wizards for the final playoff position. The Pacers were picked to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference and Las Vegas oddsmakers set the over-under on their wins for the season at 23.5, which they have already surpassed.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Tyrese Haliburton is not an All-Star yet, but starter voting gives him reason to hope

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