The Incoming Improvements for Tyler Herro in his 4th Year

Tyler Herro has been the center of attention so far this off-season when it comes to Miami Heat talk. From trade rumors of Kevin Durant to Donovan Mitchell, his names been thrown around a ton.

Some of that is viable when it comes to the search of upgrading a team that was so close to the finish line, but that doesn’t mean the narrative of Herro on the court needs to change.

We can take both the positive and negative into account when discussing gradual improvements: the positive being his 6th man of the year regular season and the negative being his playoff decline.

It’s always crucial for a player to focus on the necessary areas of their game to maximize. But the public opinion as of late seems to vocalize what he isn’t instead of what he is.

So let’s start by addressing what he is as currently constructed.

The place to start is that he’s coming off a highly efficient three point shooting season off the catch. He shot 42% on spot-up triples, which is a great counterpart for a player who is mainly an on-ball usage guy.

Maintaining that number would be important as his shot creation expands, but it should also be noted that his spot-up attempts could increase as well. With Victor Oladipo replacing PJ Tucker in the regular season rotation in theory, that provides more usage to spread around, and more importantly, more rim pressure.

Capitalizing on those off-ball opportunities could lead to that jump in PPG.

The other main aspect of his game that has shown to be elite this past year is the pull up shooting. That’s essentially always been his bread and butter, but he took a major step this year in how he got to those pull-up spots.

The coverage formula is simple: if he sees drop, he sees a bucket at the elbow. But he expanded on that a bit in the regular season.

He gained comfort against switches, while simultaneously upping his willingness to actually accept the screen.

For a long period of time, he would refuse any screen that came his way, but well, he walked away from the off-season with that added gadget.

And now the gadget of this off-season doesn’t involve refusing or accepting the screen in the pick and roll. It’s about doing without that screener all together.

The beginning stages of that development began taking place during this season. It’s not always about a pure iso, but drawing out the big man following a screen and making them pay.

Herro’s go-to in that occurrence is to space as far as possible, and flow into a pull-up right over the top of the bigger defender.

His high release point allows him to continually get a clean look out of it. Looking at the clips above, it’s not that he’s getting open looks through this movement. But he’s getting a comfortable look since he believes in that abrupt pull-up.

The reason I bring this up is that introduction layer is what stalled him out at times in the post-season.

Every time a screen came, two defenders came. They began blitzing him over and over until he made them alter the scheme. The issue was the only counter to it was not calling for the screen in the first place.

So, is there total trust in him as an isolation player?

Well, we will see the answer to that at some point this year, but it’s not going to be a needed element for long periods of time. It’s just as a counter in his back pocket.

Getting back to his formula against big men on the switch, that will be his isolation staple as well. The talks about separation were a big conversation early in his career, but simply rising over the top became his way of getting by that.

There are three things that can take his game to the next level when exiting this off-season, and this is step 1. It’s all about finding that segue from regular season to playoffs, and he’ll benefit with this addition in both time stamps.

 

When speaking about finding a consistent base from regular season to playoffs, the ability to get to the rim is a good start. Rim attacks naturally decline for guys when entering the post-season, due to everything being much more in the half-court and teams can scheme against it.

Herro found himself in a groove in the regular season as an attacker, since his floater became a sticking point in the in-between game. He was averaging just under 12 drives per game, while generating around 6 attempts a night off those attacks.

Yet when the playoffs hit, both numbers basically sliced in half: he averaged 3.6 attempts a night on 6.8 drives.

We always have the discussion about embracing contact around the rim as that strong attacker, which coincides with added trips to the free throw line, but I’m just not sure that’s the sustainable force.

What I mean by that is it’s all about finding things that create positive outcomes in both the regular season and playoffs. And when looking at the clips above, that’s the middle ground that seems to pop.

He’s never going to fly through the lane like Ja Morant to get the foul call, yet he’s methodical enough to take those slow-footed floaters. The combination there is bump-lean-float.

That formula is why he’s so comfortable on the baseline. That out of bounds line shows there’s nobody going to come back-side, meaning he can bump and lean freely.

He seems to have gained some extra muscle as well, which helps this case even more, but there’s no doubt this subtle, and somewhat minor, movement can take his game to the next level no matter the time of year.

Breaking that specific barrier inside the lane not only gives him more options, but it can free up that mid-range pull-up base that he loves to get back to so often. If he can mirror those contact embraced baseline drives into his regular pick and roll reps, that’ll create the necessary diversity to maximize all three levels.

Now, the final improvement area isn’t as ball-centric as you may think.

To zoom out for a second into a Heat sense, I’ve mentioned a few times recently that I believe Erik Spoelstra leans heavily into their movement offense this year.

They already run a ton of motion, but with all of the guards on the roster, it should be beneficial to make defenses run and chase in the half-court at a higher rate.

What that means for Tyler Herro could be very intriguing. One of the downfalls to the playoff lineup of Jimmy Butler-Victor Oladipo-Tyler Herro was that movement was the primary factor to it working properly. If Butler was in isolation with Dipo and Herro standing around, the play was dead.

Simply, that can’t be the case this year.

I’d say that Herro is pretty good off the move, and also a very underrated screener off the ball, but it’s more about consistency and role within the offense. I wouldn’t exactly say this is something you can fully work on in the off-season, but it’s something to prepare for.

The clip above is a perfect example: a defense preparing for his next move as he looks to be shooting into a DHO, he fakes it, cuts back door, and gets an open lay-in out of it. Easy buckets were popping up often when he ran this type of stuff, but many of us forgot about that.


Why is that?

Well, we didn’t see much of this in the playoffs. Once again, part of that is defenses buckling up in a different manner, but there will still be opportunties to pounce on this upcoming year with more shooting on the floor.

The perception of Herro during the off-season always gets a bit wanky, but my perception of him as the basketball player never wavered. Yes, he’s a good enough headliner piece to get you in the conversation of a Donovan Mitchell type, but that doesn’t mean you only focus on the playoff decline now that he’s staying on the roster.

He has some things to patch up as I noted in this piece, but the only reason we focus on so many of the minor elements is due to the fact he already has so much to offer.

He grew as a creator. He grew as a play-maker. He grew as an all-around scorer. Now it’s time to grow as a player with a substancial amount of on-court attention coming his way.

I believe he will have the neccessary counters ready, and I also believe in what he is at this stage. Don’t let off-season rumors fog your view of a high level basketball player.

 

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2 replies
  1. Billy Johnson
    Billy Johnson says:

    Could Tyler Herro become the power forward Miami Heat needs? He won’t become faster or grow long arms, but he can potentially bulk up into a Tucker-type frame. Herro already excels in rebounding and C&S threes. What he needs to do is gain enough muscle to take punishment inside the paint.

    Speedy guards are Herro’s kryptonite. Bringing him inside pits him against slower footed adversaries who won’t burn him with their quickness. So far Herro has always been pegged as a guard, but he has the passing, rebounding, shooting skills to be an All-NBA PF where being slow-footed isn’t necessarily a major liability.

    Reply

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