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Has Tyler Herro played himself into untouchable status?

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Could Herro’s improvement lead the Heat to pass on Victor Oladipo, Bradley Beal or Donovan Mitchell?

Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images

Last summer, the Miami Heat refused to include Tyler Herro — who had yet to play an NBA game — in trade discussions for Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul. More than a year later, has Herro now made himself untouchable? Would the Heat not even give up the 20-year-old guard for players like Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo or Donovan Mitchellall of whom have been linked to the Heat?

Herro has shown significant improvement since the NBA restart, and that continued in his playoff debut Tuesday afternoon. With Duncan Robinson struggling, Erik Spoelstra included him in Miami’s crunch-time lineup. Herro finished Game 1 with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field, three rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes.

Though he shot just 1-for-5 from 3-point range yesterday, Herro still made himself valuable with crafty drives to the basket and smooth pull-up jumpers. As Brandon Di Perno and I discussed a few days ago, Herro’s finishing around the rim and ball-handling skills stand out as big areas of improvement.

Of course, it’s just one playoff game. Herro has to prove he can perform at this level during the playoffs consistently. But his play in the bubble has been undoubtedly encouraging.

And what if Herro shows that he’s a starter-quality guard in the NBA? Oladipo still has not risen to his All-Star play from the 2017-18 season. Even if Herro’s ceiling isn’t where Bradley Beal is — the Wizard averaged 30.5 points per game this season — should the Heat look to upgrade elsewhere over the next year-and-a-half?

The Heat are reportedly interested in signing Paul Millsap this off-season. And along with every other team, Miami will hope to sign Giannis Antetokounmpo when he becomes a free agent. Herro’s continued development could enable the Heat to avoid a costly trade or a max contract to a shooting guard and instead find a nice front-court mate to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

After the Heat first executed the sign-and-trade for Butler, fans wondered who would be the “second star.” It may have been Paul or Westbrook, but it turned out to be Adebayo. Now, people say that the Heat are “one piece away.” What if that piece is already there?