Kendrick Nunn was supposed to bounce back in Thursday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The 25-year-old rookie had gone a combined 2-for-13 from the field in the Miami Heat’s last two games. With both Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic out, Nunn would have the opportunities to get back on track.
Although Nunn went 4-of-10 from 3-point range against the Bucks, nothing else from his offensive game was there. He missed the mid-range pull-ups and floaters that he made most of the year. When the Heat tried to get Nunn going in the third quarter, Miami’s offense broke down. The Bucks stormed back.
Now, some are wondering if the Heat should start Tyler Herro over Nunn moving forward.
Herro has shown some significant growth in his game just as Nunn has struggled. As I mentioned in a recap to a scrimmage game, Herro has added secondary ball-handling to his repertoire.
I’m genuinely curious to see young Tyler Hero’s development. I have no idea what his floor or ceiling are?— Jorge Sedano (@Sedano) August 6, 2020
He’s already an elite shooter.
Spoelstra has forced the rookie to add secondary ball handling to his plate. Which has made him a better passer and cutter off ball.
Herro struggled from 3-point range against the Bucks, only going 1-for-5, but broke down the defense for some easy scores. He also earned seven trips to the foul line, which were crucial considering the fact that the guy who gets to the free throw line the most for Miami — Jimmy Butler — was out.
It hasn’t all been great for Herro, though. He committed all five of his turnovers in the second half against the Bucks. Of course, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic will do most of the ball-handling assuming the Heat are at full strength. Miami won’t ask Herro to do as much as he did Thursday.
But he’s shown he can make the right play. Look at these passes Herro makes — first, for an open Andre Iguodala corner 3-pointer, and then to Bam Adebayo for an open Duncan Robinson 3-pointer.
talked about dragic hitting the slip slowly.— Karens In Paris (@NekiasNBA) August 6, 2020
look at how quickly herro does it, and the shot it winds up creating pic.twitter.com/luxOP1Mm4z
Despite the growth from Herro, the Heat should still start Nunn — at least for now. The Indiana Pacers lost yesterday, so Miami kept their one-game lead for the fourth spot. Ben Simmons just went down for the Philadelphia 76ers. The mission for the Heat through these next four seeding games should be to get everyone healthy and avoid slipping to the sixth seed.
It’s in the Heat’s best interest for Nunn to turn things around. And let’s not forget that Nunn already battled a slump earlier in the year and came back. In early December, Nunn shot 3-for-16 against the Toronto Raptors and then went 3-for-11 the next night in Boston. But just a few days later, he scored 36 points on 14-for-26 shooting in an overtime thriller against the Atlanta Hawks. And then he played well against the Los Angeles Lakers in Miami’s next game.
During the 2011 playoffs, Erik Spoelstra stuck with Mike Bibby as the starting point guard despite a historically bad shooting slump. He waited until Game 6 of the 2011 Finals to start Mario Chalmers — way too late. If Nunn can’t break out of his slump in the remaining seeding games, then Spoelstra can start Herro. But the last thing he should do now is rattle Nunn’s confidence.