A Breakdown of Tyler Herro Against the Magic

It’s been a roller coaster of a season up to this point for Tyler Herro, going through contact tracing protocols, playing in games with 8 available players early on, and enduring injuries as well. That almost held him out of Sunday night’s match-up with the Orlando Magic, since he was questionable with a shoulder strain, but ended up playing.

And well, it was the type of bounce back game many have been awaiting, so let’s take a deep dive into his performance.

– Three-point shots falling for one reason

Herro’s shooting from beyond the arc this season hasn’t been his best attribute, which has had many people wondering the exact reason for that. His catch and shoot percentages haven’t been terrible, but are down from his rookie season, while his pull-up triples have been the main issue.

But taking a look at these two clips, there’s a mutual takeaway, which is that he’s getting back into his regular motions. By that I mean he’s utilizing the two main individual moves that lead to a successful jumper for him. The first play showcases the pump-fake into a one dribble side-step, which usually allows him to get into his most comfortable set-shot rhythm.

The second play is the most ideal Herro jumper that you will see. He receives the ball in motion into a pull-up, which is by far the most effective motion for him. If you’re wondering why, take a look at the amount of lift on that second shot. And when he’s shooting over the top of his defenders instead of being flat-footed, it usually ends in good things.

– Some differences in transition offense

Now, I’m not showcasing this play because it was a Herro fast-break alley-oop finish, which is impressive in itself. The actual reason is because of the difference in outcome compared to earlier tries.

A main issue with his transition scoring at times is that he allows his crafty rim presence to takeover in moments when it shouldn’t. Creative up and unders to avoid contact could make a highlight reel, but it also could end in  transition offense for the opposing team.

He must be more aggressive on these types of possessions, since drawing contact in fast-motion usually ends in two free-throws. Herro basically had no option other than to throw it down, since Goran Dragic forced him to rise up, ending in a flashy play. But once that semi-Butler kicks in to draw contact in transition, things will change for him as a player.

– Unique offensive set due to Butler’s gravity

Although this play wasn’t totally generated by Herro, it’s definitely worthy to discuss. Miami’s actions have looked a bit different with Bam Adebayo out, which is natural since he flowed them into most of their sets.

On this play, Butler and KZ Okpala run a pick and roll at the top of the key, while Olynyk sets an off-ball screen for Herro to wrap around to the basket. But take a look at the amount of eyes on the attacking Butler, especially since the switch didn’t occur to slide down on the cutting Herro. That leads to an easy dime under the basket for a score.

Guys like Herro have a real advantage on the offensive side of the ball when sharing the floor with Butler. The amount of pressure he puts on a defense allows others to play freely to find open space, which is impressive since it has continued with Adebayo out as well.

– Attacking mismatches through iso-ball

A big part of Herro’s evolving offensive game is the ability to take guys off the dribble one-on-one, especially when a mismatch is created.

On this possession, Herro creates the match-up that he wanted, and slowly backs out to reset while the team clears out. He then immediately begins to break his defender down, getting to that elbow shot which has been his friend since he entered the league.

Attacking switches is another one of those Dragic lessons that must be instilled into his game, especially since Miami is pretty limited on individual shot creators. If he can be trusted to get a bucket in a spaced out offense in a one-on-one setting, those late-game Tyler heroics will be even more dangerous.

– A need to utilize the PnR more

The pick and roll has been an interesting thing for Herro this season, since it shined most in those bundled up games against Philadelphia early on with eight available players, but has been a bit inconsistent since.

This play shows why that should not be the case, since he has a very unique and creative ability to get downhill. The issue has been actually utilizing the screen instead of avoiding it, since it only makes his job easier.

As he snakes back into the paint on this possession, which is usually his go-to so he can eliminate the guy who got screened, he attempts a very unorthodox floater that is never unorthodox for Herro. This ties back to my point earlier involving the avoidance of contact, since PnR sets will really takeoff when that occurs.

– Fourth quarter defensive impact

Miami’s defense has been absolutely extraordinary as of late, and it’s not all because of Butler, even though he deserves most of the credit. They have been playing incredible team defense, altering between man to man, 2-3 zone, and a 2-2-1 full-court press.

And when offense isn’t clicking late, you must utilize the defense to create offensive opportunities. Herro did that early in the fourth quarter, making two defensive plays, showcasing two completely different things.

The first play just showed his active hands, which looked a little Andre Iguodala-esque on this play, since he was determined to force Terrence Ross to make a play, instead of just sliding out to the corner while Precious Achiuwa stepped up.

The second clip really put Herro’s defensive awareness on display. It was obvious that Orlando would try to work the offense through Nikola Vucevic at this point, especially since he had a mismatch with Iguodala defending. Herro begins to edge over, and when he notices Vucevic is not aware of his back-side, he jumps the pass to force a turnover for the Magic.

And if anything has truly stood out from this breakdown, it’s that defensive growth in a team setting.


– More late-game jumpers to ice it

This is once again generated by the pressure Butler puts on a defense, since the defender slid over on the backside to eliminate the attack. Kelly Olynyk pops out immediately, which Butler swings it to him leading to the ball finding the hands of Herro.

And to evaluate his jumper once again, did you notice anything different? Well, I did, which was absolutely zero hesitation. The reason for shots falling more often down the stretch is the rhythm that he shoots with when it matters most.

To further that point, why not find Herro to put the game away, up 1 with 2 minutes left?

It basically looks like the same play as the last one, except Butler generated this one off the attack instead of out on the perimeter. Once again, the ball finds Olynyk, which then swings to Herro, due to yet another bad rotation due to the natural worry of a Butler score.

Herro catches it and lets it fly, which is the best and only option for him in those situations.

As I said at this point of the game, the Heat need one player other than Jimmy Butler to hit a big shot down the stretch for them to come away with a win. And that guy was Tyler Herro by no surprise.

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