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Boston Celtics give Miami Heat a reality check with Tyler Herro starting

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Herro and Kendrick Nunn may seem like interchangeable pieces, but they aren’t.

NBA: Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Should putting Tyler Herro in the starting five for the Miami Heat matter? On the surface Herro’s smooth shooting stroke promises to help space the floor. In his six starts as a starter, the facts reveal completely unexpected findings for Miami from the 3-point line (FGM/FGA, 3P%).

  • Bam Adebayo, 1/11, 9.1%
  • Tyler Herro, 8/34, 23.5%
  • Jimmy Butler, 26/106, 24.5%
  • Justise Winslow, 3/12, 25.0%
  • Derrick Jones Jr., 2/6, 33.3%
  • Goran Dragic, 2/6, 33%
  • Kendrick Nunn, 90/253, 35.6%
  • Meyers Leonard, 46/108, 42.6%
  • Duncan Robinson, 150/340, 44.1%

When Herro faces starter-level defenders, his true shooting percentage of 43% is the absolute worst among qualifying NBA players (min 6 games, 30 minutes). Combined with the worst Offensive Rebound % of 0.5%, and a lower assist ratio than Hassan Whiteside, 7.6 versus 7.8, Miami’s stagnant offense against quality teams isn’t a surprise when Herro starts.

Adding his college numbers gives a perspective on his evolution as a professional. The competition toughens as the stakes get bigger.

  • OffRtg: starter 79, reserve 103, college 120
  • DefRtg: starter 109, reserve 112, college 98
  • NetRtg: starter -30, reserve -9, college 22
  • 3P%: starter .235%, reserve .422%, college .355%
  • TS%: starter .430%, reserve .550%, college .580%

Going from a 19-year old amateur to polished professional has its inevitable bumps along the road. Herro’s path from a Wisconsin high school, to a Kentucky college, to the NBA also had it’s twists and turns. He decided to forgo his local college Marquette and state university Wisconsin, because they weren’t good enough growth vehicles for him.

”After a lot of conversations with my family and prayer I have decided to reopen my recruitment and explore all of my options,” Herro said in a statement on Twitter. “The past year since I committed I have grown not only as a basketball player, but as a person. My drive to become the best on all levels has been the fuel that drove this decision.”

Marquette and Wisconsin were not big enough for Herro and his insatiable thirst for the spotlight. Reminds me of Dion Waiters who never met a shot he didn’t like.

“I wanted to play somewhere bigger than that,” Herro said. “Obviously not a lot of people get the opportunity to play at somewhere like Kentucky. When I got the call that I could play here, why not?”

While at University of Kentucky, Herro succeeded against lesser defenses but had problems with better ones such as the ones from the University of Tennessee.

“Herro had been a big reason for Kentucky’s recent resurgence, catching fire over the month and coming off a career-high 29 points in the Wildcats’ previous game against Arkansas. The Vols shut him down, holding him to 6 points on 2-of-11 shooting.”

Strange reasoning since Marquette didn’t impede alumni Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler growth as players and people. Understandably the local SBnation site was perplexed.

“Well, Herro attends Whitnall High School in Greenfield, a suburb of Milwaukee...We know that the Marquette coaching staff has been out to see Herro a bunch, including this past Friday when assistant coach Brett Nelson made the short drive to Greenfield. Herro has also been to the Marquette campus, most recently on August 29th for an unofficial visit. So, yeah, it’s kind of a drag that a kid that talented is leaving the area instead of going to Marquette. It’s even more of a drag that he’s choosing Wisconsin over Marquette.”

That tidbit matters if Herro decides to “explore all of [his] options,” when recruiters such as John Calipari come calling with juicy offers for fame and fortune. Wade and Butler decided life was bigger than basketball. They remained true to Marquette who brought them to the NBA.

Judging from Herro’s quotes loyalty doesn’t apply, since “Why not?” jump ship applies. Waiters is more loyal because he has a difficult time trusting people. Once Erik Spoelstra earns Waiters’ trust, Waiters will be his friend forever. The results will amaze. For now though the Heat have a championship to pursue.