The offseason has arrived for the Miami Heat, who were swept out of the first round in the NBA playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks — losing their four games by a combined 82 points.
Before we deep dive into everything regarding the future months for this team, let’s discuss the seasons for Heat players who played and finished on the 2020-21 Heat roster.
For our ninth player review — conducted in alphabetical order — we will look at sophomore guard Tyler Herro. Here’s the previous eight Heat players we’ve reviewed thus far:
- Precious Achiuwa
- Bam Adebayo
- Trevor Ariza
- Nemanja Bjelica
- Jimmy Butler
- Dewayne Dedmon
- Goran Dragic
- Udonis Haslem
Let’s dive into it!
- 15.1 PPG
- 5.0 RPG
- 3.4 APG
- 43.9 field goal percentage
- 54.3 true shooting percentage
- 13.3 player efficiency rating
Herro’s thrilling rookie run was culminated by his 37-point outing in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. The then-20-year-old averaged 13.5 points with a 55.0 true shooting percentage last year; his scoring leaped to 16.0 points with a 55.7 true shooting percentage in 21 playoff games. With the expectation of taking yet another leap — despite the COVID-shortened offseason — Herro had an underwhelming season, but strung together a strong finish.
Numbers to note:
37.9 - One similarity between Herro’s rookie and sophomore seasons was his efficiency as a pull-up jump shooter. In both years, he hit pull-up jumpers at a 37.9 percent clip, per NBA.com. Those figures are lower than last year’s playoff figure — knocking down over 40 percent of them.
59.8 - Throughout the majority of the season — whether it was for James Harden, Kyle Lowry or another coveted win-now asset — Herro’s name was floated in trade rumors. Spoiler alert: It will happen plenty this offseason, too. But immediately after the March 25 trade deadline passed, his switch flipped. Though the post-deadline numbers came on in a smaller sample, his efficiency splits were pretty startling. Herro sported a 59.8 true shooting percentage in 21 games after the deadline; it was just 51.3 percent in 33 games beforehand.
We may never know if his middling performance at the time can be attributed to the ongoing trade rumors — it could’ve also correlated to the shortened offseason, getting more added upon his plate too early into the season or a combination of multiple different factors that has nothing to do with any of this — but it seemed like the jarring weight on his shoulders turned into mini specs of dust that he brushed off.
3.4 - Herro was thrusted into the lead guard role at the beginning of the season. The results were rocky and inconsistent. But Herro continued to make strides as a playmaker as the season went on; he displayed improved passing chops with smarter decision-making, though his assist numbers might not reflect it. Regardless, he was soon replaced by Kendrick Nunn in the starting lineup and was placed in his more familiar sixth-man role for the remainder of the season.
March 25 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
As I mentioned above, Herro was much more efficient after the nerve-wracking, ultra-enticing trade deadline passed. In my view, his best game of the season game just hours after the deadline ended. That evening, he tallied 29 points and dished out eight assists. The 21-year-old shot 9-of-19 from the floor and 5-of-9 from 3-point range, adding four rebounds with one steal.
Similarly to how it’s been for the past several months, Herro’s name will be prominent in the rumor mill in the ongoing months. It’s inevitable. He is Miami’s top asset and may be shipped off in a sign-and-trade for any top-tier asset — like Lowry.
The outside pressure Herro faced this season will only mount more entering next season. Does that mean he can’t or won’t live up to it? No. This will be his first real offseason to better shore up any glaring weaknesses while sharpening strengths. Not that it’s under his control — because it isn’t — but the microscope is going to be on the 21-year-old next year and for the foreseeable future, especially if he’s back with the Heat.
Pat Riley commented about Herro’s status with the team in his exit interview:
“He’s a core player. That’s all there is to it ... What happened to him going down the stretch, I actually thought he got better as a player ... If you think about his first year or his first 35 or 40 games, he really was strictly a catch-and-shoot type of player coming off of screens and catching and shooting. The only way that he was ever going to become a complete offensive player is he had to improve his ball-handling with both his right hand and his left hand, and he did. He’s an exceptional ball-handler. Now he can create space and get into gaps and raise on jumpers from almost anywhere.”
One could assume that Riley’s buttering-up Herro in an attempt to increase his trade value, but that’s all speculation. For all we know, Riley’s core comment is genuine and Herro’s on Miami’s roster to begin the 2021-22 NBA season. But if the organization has the opportunity to add a win-now talent, its best asset (currently) might be suiting up for another team next October.