Whether in the starting lineup at point guard or on the bench as a secondary playmaker, Tyler Herro had been used in a multitude of fashions by the Miami Heat throughout his first two seasons in the NBA. This season, thanks to the addition of Kyle Lowry and the subtraction of Goran Dragić, Herro has been able to key in and focus on the role of primary playmaker and main shot creator off the bench.
Herro has been very impressive in this role, averaging 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game through the first five games of the season. He’s flourished as a scorer, showing the ability and maturation of his game to dissect defenses and navigate his way to the different spots on the floor where he’s most effective.
For instance, Herro has been excellent this season at 3-pointers above the top of the key (he’s 6 for 9 on these types of shots), and he’s been able to get to these types of shots by pulling up quickly in transition, taking advantage of soft-hedging bigs on ball screens and by using off-ball screens and different movements without the ball to get to these preferred spots.
Herro has also shown impressive touch on his floater, which has turned into a go-to shot of his within 15 feet of the basket. This floater is such an important shot to have in his ball screen arsenal, as he can use it to combat soft-hedging bigs who place themselves in a position to contest potential layup attempts.
Herro’s shot-making ability has also greatly improved since last season, as the third-year guard has shown the capability to make a wide array of pull-ups, step-backs and other varieties of tough shots that involve attacking and taking advantage of favorable matchups that are often created through Miami’s ball screen-heavy offense.
As the primary playmaker off the Heat’s bench, Herro has shown that his playmaking skills have developed and that the game is starting to slow down for him in this department. When Miami tried experimenting with Herro by starting him at point guard during the beginning of last season, he looked flustered and out of control while running the offense. This season has been different so far, as Herro has exhibited real strides in his decision-making and ability to properly run the Heat’s offense.
His ability on ball screens to read where the help defense is collapsing from and decide who on the floor would be open as a result of this has been exceptional and should continue improving throughout the season as he gains more in-game experience in these situations.
Herro’s defense has improved this season, as he’s been able to take advantage of the reported 10 pounds of muscle he gained over the course of the offseason, which has made Herro less prone to getting bullied by opponents in the paint. His defensive anticipation and lateral quickness have also gotten better. He has avoided getting blown by with ease as much as before and is much more effective at cutting off opposing ball handlers’ driving lanes than in years prior.
Herro’s development over the course of this season should be fascinating to watch as he leads the Heat’s bench into expected championship contention.
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