Tyrese Haliburton puts on playmaking and defensive clinic in first Team USA showcase

Tyrese Haliburton's first taste of Olympic basketball is in the books. Let's break down his performance and see how he did.
Jul 10, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; USA guard Tyrese Haliburton (9) dribbles past Canada guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) in the second quarter in the USA Basketball Showcase at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; USA guard Tyrese Haliburton (9) dribbles past Canada guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) in the second quarter in the USA Basketball Showcase at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports / Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
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Haliburton’s Final Stats and Takeaways

All in all, Tyrese Haliburton had a very productive night against Canada, logging only two points (1/4 FG and 0/2 3PT) but contributing in other ways with four rebounds, six assists (game-high), four steals (game-high), one block, and a game-high plus/minus of +17, making him, statistically, the most valuable player on the floor.

This, of course, resulted in a big-time Team USA win, as they knocked off Andrew Nembhard and Team Canada with a final score of 86-72 to win their first Showcase game to get them ready for the real games to start soon.

While Haliburton's stats were solid, they did not reflect how good he was on the floor and how much better he made everyone around him. Just like how he did in the World Cup a year ago, Haliburton's arrival on the floor quickly led to the pace being pushed up a notch and his teammates needing to run faster, but ultimately getting the ball exactly where they wanted to get a bucket.

Both in transition and the half-court, Haliburton's main objective was to give his All-Star teammates their best opportunity to succeed and put points up on the board, which he did in abundance, showing why his fantastic playmaking got him on Team USA in the first place over flashier scorers like Kyrie Irving and Jalen Brunson.

Furthermore, Haliburton's defense was a massive plus during the entire game. Not only was he very active off-ball, as shown by his four steals, but he played a big hand in contesting shots, even sending Kelly Olynyk out of the paint by simply closing out before he could get a shot off, resulting in Canada having to settle for a contested three-pointer, which was a miss.

More than anything, Haliburton's effort on defense in his 20 minutes on the floor on Wednesday was some of the most effort he's shown on that end in extended minutes as a Pacer. If he can bring similar energy to the regular season, combined with his height and length, which you cannot teach, he may very well become a sleeper two-way star soon enough.

However, this does not mean he was used right by Steve Kerr from the jump. For the majority of the first half, Kerr ran a bench backcourt of Haliburton and Anthony Edwards, which was to be expected. What was not expected, was Edwards bringing the ball up the court most of the time and Haliburton standing around waiting for a pass like a shooting guard.

This led to some costly mistakes, as Edwards is prone to tunnel vision at times and especially forcing up bad shots in traffic. As he knows from his days playing with Haliburton on the previous year's FIBA World Cup team, if he stays patient and gets to his spots, Haliburton will find him and get him the ball right where he wants it. They were thankfully able to fix this up in the second half, and Haliburton found himself with the ball in his hands more, but it is something to look out for going forward.

Regardless of the rocky start, Tyrese Haliburton had a very good performance in Team USA's first showcase game against Puerto Rico which will hopefully lead to Steve Kerr calling his number more consistently as the tournament goes on.

With Kevin Durant and Derrick White yet to play a game for Team USA, this game was very important for Haliburton to prove that he belongs in the rotation, and I would say he did just that, as he ran Team USA's offense to perfection and made all his teammates happy with the dimes he dropped as well as the pockets he picked on defense.

While he left something to be desired as a scorer, this was to be expected, as he was brought on for his defense and length at the point guard position. However, Pacers fans would still like to see the open shots fall for Haliburton, as he will be getting more of those with the amount of spacing Team USA has at their disposal. Judging by his games for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup last year, Haliburton seems to have the same impact this time around, except on a better team and with more options to pass to.


As time goes on, and Kerr tinkers with his lineups more and gives certain players more or fewer touches and minutes, we will see if Tyrese Haliburton can continue getting something close to the 20 minutes he got in the first Showcase game. For now, we can say that Tyrese’s performance in Game 1 was very promising, and gives Pacers’ fans hope for what we can see in the future.