By Cesare Milanti / email@example.com
MANILA, Philippines – Team USA had no enemies in their Group C stage, beating New Zealand, Greece, and Jordan with a points differential of 103. To help Steve Kerr’s national team get those wins, Tyrese Haliburton had a great showing coming off the bench.
Averaging 8.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game to lead the American second unit, the 23-year-old discussed with Eurohoops the differences between their group and the other national teams in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which can count on a well-oiled core for years.
Talking about Lithuania, who the USA is about to face in the second round after playing against Montenegro, Tyrese Haliburton said it looks completely different than them. “These countries have guys who played together for their whole careers, for years. Instead, we come together 2-3 weeks before the tournament. We’re all somewhat familiar with each other because obviously, we play against each other”, he first stated.
However, in order to find the right chemistry, it takes a distinct approach. “But it’s different when you’re playing together, figuring out tendencies: where the guys like the ball, how to play with them the best. It’s challenging, but that’s the fun part out of this. We don’t need to be together for years, we figure it out on the flight, having some fun. It makes it a real challenge for us”, the Indiana Pacers guard continued after talking about fellow countrymen who represent other national teams.
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This is the first time in Haliburton’s career he has been coached by Steve Kerr and Team USA’s coaching staff, which included Erik Spoelstra and Tyronn Lue. Commenting on what they bring to the squad, he did nothing but praise them. “You just kinda see what makes them so great. The attention to detail, their intensity when we’re going through scouts. They’re focused on certain things. You get to see them live in action and that’s always so cool to be around different basketball minds, who give different opinions on your game and how they live the basketball world”, he said.
As anticipated, Team USA will have to beat both Montenegro and Lithuania to secure the first spot in Group J, but what about what comes next? “I’m looking forward to the games ahead of us against Lithuania and Montenegro, but looking at other sides you see Canada, Germany, Australia. Those are teams that have all been playing well. I’m looking forward to whoever we will face moving forward. We want the best opponents to put up the best games and really determine who the world champions are”, Haliburton commented on his favorite teams to watch so far in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Not only teams, tho. The 23-year-old guard also took time to play against NBA players with different rules, hooping in FIBA’s landscape. Most of all, he’s intrigued to face guys on the glass, the ones who get more freedom by switching codebooks. “I think it’s intriguing to play against the bigs. We’ve got Vucevic and Valanciunas coming up, which will be interesting because they’re allowed to be more physical, and get away with more stuff which they’re allowed in the NBA. It will be interesting to play with those guys”, he finally stated.
PHOTO CREDIT: 2023 FIBA World Cup