How Tyler Herro has Elevated the League’s Top Scoring Bench

The raw numbers speak for themselves when it comes to Tyler Herro this season, averaging 21 points a game on 44% shooting along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists, plus he’s producing 23 a night since the All Star break.

But when zooming out a bit, this Heat bench has gotten them to this point, and now it’s time for the main cast to push them over the edge as they blend into the post-season.

The interesting part about that: Herro is starring in both that hot bench group and that main cast.

Miami currently averages the most bench points a game this season at 40 a night, which has bumped up even further post All Star break to 46 a game. But frankly, it isn’t just about the box score watching of how many points these guys are putting up.

They’re generating extremely positive minutes when plugging in for starters.

When looking over some of the best offensive two man combos for the Heat since the All Star break, here are the top five in offensive rating with at least 100 minutes played: Caleb Martin and Gabe Vincent, Martin and Max Strus, Martin and Herro, Bam Adebayo and Strus, then Strus and Herro.

That’s five combos, or 10 players, with only one Heat starter named. That simply isn’t a normal occurrence.

In terms of the X’s and O’s differences, one of the main reasons that those numbers looked like that is due to Miami’s spacing looking best in the second units night in and night out. Prolonged minutes of the Butler-Tucker-Adebayo front-court constantly meant a spaced out second unit was about to enter.

Now, they’ve spread it out evenly as we’ve been talking about a ton over the last 48 hours. Herro entering for Butler, maximizes spacing in those early minutes, as well as his shift to the 4 has opened things up.

In many ways, not only has the Heat’s depth gotten them to this point, but they were the trial runs for the coaching staff to gain clarity on what works best for this team offensively.


Having that spacing off the bench is one thing with Strus’ outside shooting or Vincent and Martin’s surges this season into legitimate two way players, but it all comes down to having that head of the snake who knows what to do when actually given that space.

Tyler Herro has been that guy.

I mentioned that Herro insertion for Butler around the 6 minute mark over the last two games, and here was the very first offensive possession in both instances.

Herro comes off the hand-off, Jaylen Brown funnels him inside, Marcus Smart helps down off the corner, and Herro hits Bam on the roll for the eventual dunk. The primary element there, though, is the space that Adebayo had on the roll.

It’s one thing to have the space, but you need a guy in Herro to not only make the pass, but force three to collapse onto him on the ball.

Rewinding back to the game against the Kings, it was pretty much the same exact look, except Tucker standing in the strong-side dunker spot now meant even more room for Adebayo as the roller to operate.

How valuable is Herro to that bench unit, you may ask?

Well, a minor evaluation is that one of the last games he sat out, against the Golden State Warriors on the night of the bench blow-up, the Heat scored 13 bench points while 7 of those came from Victor Oladipo on 3 of 11 shooting.

It goes without saying, but Herro’s value to this team, and more specifically to this bench, is higher than anybody could’ve expected coming into the season.

For example, Martin and Strus have recorded an offensive rating of 114 this season when they share the floor without Herro, yet when Herro enters next to them, it bumps all the way up to 119.

It’s one of those things where the X’s and O’s completely are aligned with the stats. And well, if many want to all of a sudden drift away from the raw numbers for the 6th man of the year award this season, advanced statistics back up Herro’s outstanding season as well.

The bench unit continues to shift around Herro, but it continues to produce due to his strong level of play. From Martin to Vincent to Haywood Highsmith to Omer Yurtseven to Kyle Guy, for some reason Miami never looks shorthanded.

A big part of that is the Heat’s developmental program shining, but an even larger part of it is that Herro’s game has risen to a level that anyone can plug in next to him.

And well, that’s the exact definition of what a 6th man of the year winner should be made of.


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