Tyrese Haliburton makes Knicks NBA Draft case as potential trade lingers

Tyrese Haliburton is not rated as the top point guard in the draft, but he thinks he’s the best passer.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore out of Iowa State said in a Zoom call Wednesday he’s interviewed with just three teams so far — the Knicks being one of them. The Warriors, who pick second, and point guard-starved Detroit are the others.

The Knicks will select No. 8 at the draft on Nov. 18.

“I think I facilitate better than anyone in this draft and can run a team right away,’’ said Haliburton, who averaged 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists last season. “And I can knock down shots and defend.’’

Haliburton, LaMelo Ball and Killian Hayes are regarded as the top three point guards. The Knicks have made point guard a priority with their lottery pick despite a roster that has three lottery-pick point guards already in Elfrid Payton, Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina.

However, Payton is a free agent and neither Smith nor Ntilikina have proven themselves as a starter.

Haliburton, 20, said he spoke to the Knicks in July before the lottery. The Post first reported the Knicks have Ball as the No. 1 point guard on their board. According to sources, the Knicks are concerned about Haliburton’s slim build (175 pounds). He broke his wrist in February, ending his season, but said he was back to full strength by May.

”I like the Knicks — they are an up-and-coming team,’’ Haliburton said. “They have a lot of guys who can play point guard — Dennis, Elfrid, Frank. If it was the Knicks, I’m prepared to do whatever is asked of me — play the 1 , slide to the 2, come off the bench, start. Doesn’t matter.’’

Tyrese Haliburton
Tyrese Haliburton

Interestingly, Haliburton is a client of Creative Artists Agency — a company Knicks president Leon Rose once managed. ESPN’s college basketball guru Seth Greenberg told The Post in March he’d take Haliburton for the Knicks because of “his feel for the game.’’

“I think they have a great young core,’’ Haliburton said. “I see myself fitting there, whatever spot that is.’’

Asked what he’d think about playing in such a big market, the engaging Oshkosh, Wis. product said, “It doesn’t worry or concern me in any way. I‘m a basketball player. I’ll play basketball wherever it is.’’

Haliburton said a team can’t go wrong selecting either himself, Ball or Hayes. He rated Ball as the best scorer of the trio, Hayes the best defender and himself the best distributor.

“Three dudes who will be successful at the next level,” Haliburton said.

The Warriors are reportedly most intrigued by Haliburton, which lends the possibility of trading down from 2 to 8. That would put the Knicks in position for Ball.

The Pistons, however, are the likeliest destination for Haliburton as they select 7.

“I think I fit there really well,’’ Haliburton said. “Being able to learn from dudes like Derrick Rose and [Blake] Griffin. They know what it takes. I’m a Midwest guy through and through. Being in Detroit would be no problem for me.’’

Scouts believe this draft is well below average — an observation that offends Haliburton.

“I think it’s such a lazy, casual comment,’’ Haliburton said. “People act like every draft class has like five all-stars, five Hall of Famers. We have a lot of guys in this draft that will do very well in the NBA. I hope we can revisit this in a couple of years and have that discussion. It’s a lot stronger than people think.”

At Iowa State, Haliburton was a shooting guard as a freshman, then moved to point as a sophomore. He believes he can play either position. One knock is a hitch in Haliburton’s shooting form amid concerns he won’t have the same range in the NBA as in college. He’s a career 42.6 percent 3-point shooter.

“I think it’s so overblown about my mechanics and range,’’ Haliburton said. “I don’t think film or numbers lie. Go back and watch me at the college level. I think I shot the ball really well both years. We can revisit that question in a couple of years and see.”