Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro: Sharpening the Important Tools

We know what Bam Adebayo is as a defender. We know what Tyler Herro is as a scorer. Although one of those guys is a bit more consistent with his skill, we are still aware that both possess a pretty elite attribute more often than not.

But are those the most important areas of their game as the Heat push forward with the hope of these guys leading the way? Probably not.

Herro had 20 assists over the last 2 games. Adebayo had 70 points over the last 2 games.

If that doesn’t tell you what I am hinting at, I don’t know what to tell you.

The Herro-Bam pick and roll has been a Heat staple for some time. But late in the regular season last year, there was full realization that it was the team’s best action in the half-court.

It sliced up the Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs for games 1 and 2, and it’s been slicing up teams on this Butler-less roster since Herro returned from injury.

Looking at the clips above, this is pretty much the base PnR look for these two. Forcing a 2-on-1 in the middle of the floor, while eyeing the help from either side of the floor and reacting.

While the Herro pull-up/floater is the true threat to pull it all together, the Adebayo alley-oop or mid-range pull off the pocket pass are the two most likely outcomes.

This PnR combo is actually averaging 1.35 points per possession this season, which is on high volume since it’s the most used PnR combo on the team.

But we know all of this about their base action already. The reason I bring it up is because we’re seeing the subtle wrinkles they’re throwing in the mix.

To open up the Heat-Wizards game, Adebayo set a pin-down for Herro to operate off of, as Kyle Lowry hits Herro on a curl. This forces another version of a 2-on-1 for Herro and Bam, except they’re both running full speed downhill with a shrunken floor.

Win for the Heat offense since there is no help.

A lob to Bam gets things started.

Fast forward to this game against the Hawks, the Heat waited for the beginning of the third quarter to get into this bag of tricks. Herro flies into the curl 2 separate plays with the same exact result.

That dropping big’s job is to contain in middle ground, yet there’s no middle ground when it comes to a pull-up threat and a lob threat.

This is just one very simple adjustment for these two, and there are many more complex ones to come I assume, most likely closer to the playoffs.

But the reason I bring all of this up right now: Adebayo the scorer and Herro the play-maker can shift this Heat offense completely.

I’ll start on the more obvious Adebayo front by saying he needs to be a primary option on the offensive end for this team consistently. Actually, he needs to be *the* option.

How do the Heat figure out this starting lineup dilemma when fully healthy?

While that conversation has many different answers, the simplest one is Adebayo. When he is gone to early in games, he’s hard to stop past that point. He’s a rhythm player who needs sets run for him to create positive offense for the rest of the group.

Butler has interior gravity and can work the drive and kick game immensely, but he doesn’t shift an entire defense like Adebayo potentially could. The most teams will do to Butler is send the occasional double team, but the entire defense will pinch when it’s Adebayo attacking your drop big in the middle of the floor.

It’s a very obvious statement, but Adebayo the scorer is the most important development for this Heat team.

But do you want to hear a close second?

Tyler (Herro) the Creator. More specifically, the play-maker.

Since I brought up that 76ers series earlier in this piece, let’s go back to it. They found a way to make Herro uncomfortable by putting two on the ball, but what is the counter to that other than not calling for the screen in the first place?

Quick decisions and perfect passes.

If you look at the clips I provided previously, Herro’s way of hitting the roller in these last two games has been eye opening. And if he can hit that pocket pass enough, teams aren’t just going to be *okay* with letting Adebayo run 4-on-3’s on that backside.

These two young guys have this underlying skill within them, it’s just about channeling it and being willing to more often. Butler and Lowry would love for these two guys to take the reigns, and it’s in the team’s best interest to maximize those two guys for the post-season the best they could. (Obviously by getting to a comfortable spot in the standings first.)

We’ve been talking about them sharpening these tools for a while now, but we’ve approached the time period where these tools are ready to be used. Consistently.

Not just as fun offensive wrinkles, but to be the entire Miami Heat offensive base.

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