In the latest episode of The Lowe Post, ESPN's Brian Windhorst provided insights into Team USA’s lineup for the upcoming Olympics. According to Windhorst, while most of the roster is expected to see playing time, one notable exception stands out: Tyrese Haliburton.

This revelation comes as a surprise to many, considering Haliburton's impressive performance in the previous season and his contribution to Team USA during the World Cup.

“I think there’s only one guy that goes in who shouldn’t expect much playing time and that’s Haliburton. But Haliburton was very good in the World Cup last year. He wasn’t good defensively, but he was a really good player” Windhorst said.

“So if you needed to go to him I wouldn’t have any qualms about it but really the other 11 guys I think you could honestly make a case they’re all going to be in the rotation, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Kerr used all 11.”

Tyrese Haliburton, the 24-year-old guard, had a stellar season last year, leading the NBA in assists with an impressive 10.9 assists per game and averaging 20.1 points per game. Despite these achievements, his role on Team USA appears to be limited, primarily due to the team's depth and the specific needs of Olympic basketball.

Haliburton’s offensive prowess, highlighted by his playmaking abilities, is undeniable. However, on a team where multiple players can initiate the offense, his impact may be less critical compared to other roles that need to be filled.

In the Olympics, where the style of play often emphasizes different skill sets than those highlighted in the NBA, the necessity for specialized roles becomes more pronounced. Big men and shooters tend to have more defined roles in international play, often overshadowing versatile guards like Haliburton.

The comment from Windhorst also underscores a broader strategy for Team USA under coach Steve Kerr. The ability to rotate and utilize a deep bench is crucial in tournament play, where managing player fatigue and adjusting to different opponents are key to success.

This strategy means that while Haliburton might not start or see regular minutes, his role could become pivotal in specific situations, especially against certain matchups or in case of injuries.

Is there any chance we see Haliburton get minutes?

Tyrese Haliburton Eastern Conference Finals Pacers vs. Celtics
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Windhorst further elaborated on the potential for Haliburton to see action, particularly if Team USA faces challenges with player availability. Players like Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid, who have had histories of injuries, might not be needed in every game. In such scenarios, Haliburton could step in to fill the void.

“Often injured players like Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid won’t be needed in every game, so that could be where Haliburton sees a role in the rotation,” Windhorst explained.

This contingency plan highlights Haliburton's importance as a reliable backup. His experience and skill set make him a valuable asset in a pinch, capable of stepping up when needed.

During the World Cup, although he struggled defensively, his offensive contributions were significant, showcasing his ability to perform on the international stage. This versatility is why Windhorst, despite predicting limited playing time for Haliburton, does not discount his potential impact.

For Haliburton, being labeled as the odd man out in the rotation might be disheartening, especially coming off a season where he proved himself as one of the top playmakers in the league. However, it’s essential to recognize that international play and NBA play are vastly different. The structure of Team USA, filled with All-Stars and versatile players, demands specific roles to be filled rather than a traditional rotation seen in the NBA.

Coach Kerr's approach to using all 11 players also speaks to the team’s depth and the strategic flexibility it allows. Having a deep bench ensures that Team USA can maintain a high level of play throughout the tournament, adapting to various styles and strategies employed by international opponents. This method not only keeps the players fresh but also prepares the team for any unforeseen circumstances, such as injuries or tactical adjustments.

The discussion on Haliburton’s expected role also brings to light the unique challenges and considerations in assembling and managing a national team for the Olympics. Unlike regular NBA seasons, the Olympics present a compressed schedule with varying levels of competition. Therefore, strategic planning becomes crucial, and every player’s role is meticulously considered to maximize the team’s chances of success.