The race for this year’s Rookie of the Year award appears to be a close one, with three players standing out: Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, and Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton. While Edwards and Ball were both top three picks in the draft, Haliburton was selected 12th overall and has defied expectations in his first season.

However, the Kings rookie refuses to be drawn into discussions about wanting to win the award and is instead just focused on improving his own game. In an interview with The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Haliburton mentioned that taking home the award won't have an overall impact on him and that his focus is still on winning games for the Kings. However, that doesn’t mean that his family members and girlfriend won’t tease him about it every now and then.

“I’m still coming out here trying to win basketball games, so obviously my family brings it up,” Haliburton said. “My brothers mess with me about it and stuff at home. Even my girl, she doesn’t even watch basketball and she’s like, ‘You play the Timberwolves, don’t they got Anthony Edwards?’ (laughs). She doesn’t even watch basketball, and she knows that. I’m just coming out here trying to win basketball games.

The 21-year-old is averaging 13 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.2 steals while shooting 47.8% from the field and 41.4% from beyond the arc for the Kings. He said that he and Edwards are motivated to prove those who said that this year’s batch of rookies won’t be as talented as the other rookie classes.

Haliburton also opened up about expressing support for Ball after he suffered a wrist injury, saying that even if they are competitors, he wants all of the rookies from his draft class to succeed. Even if the people around him are talking about the Rookie of the Year discussion, he made it clear that his focus will only be on trying to help the Kings improve with each game.