Expectations are a pretty interesting thing in the NBA. One day you’re being drafted number 13, which many labeled the wrong choice, and the next instant you’re being looked at to step up in an NBA Finals game with all of the eyes on you.
And then, the title begins to shift from Boy Wonder to “one year wonder,” which once again just further proves this odd thing called expectations. But there are many reasons that point to this sharp turn being highly unreasonable.
Let’s start with this. Kendrick Nunn has been on an absolute tear this season since being plugged into the starting lineup, and it’s pretty clear he has his spot locked up as much as anybody in that starting lineup this season. But somehow, he averages less points per game than Tyler Herro over the course of the year.
The difference is that Nunn has been much more efficient and reliant, but for there to be two completely opposite perceptions about two players, who are pretty similar in the scoring column which is their roles, creates for an interesting debate.
There is no doubt that Herro has had his fair share of down games and rough stretches, but isn’t that expected for a second year guy selected in the late lottery? His three-point shooting numbers have taken a major dip from 39% to 34%, but still sustained a mutual field goal percentage overall due to the increase in two-point attempts.
When the public perception really began to spiral out of control was a recent three game stretch that consisted of a 5 point night on 2 for 10 shooting, a 4 point night on 1 for 7 shooting, and a 9 point night on 4 for 13 shooting. But the interesting part about that stretch is that he had a pretty decent bounce back in the two games before going out with injury, including a 22 point night against the Spurs with a fourth quarter explosion, and a 12 point night on 50% shooting against the Hawks.
Speaking of that fourth quarter, this is what it looked like, and it continues the discussion of his game relying so heavily on rhythm….
Even though numbers have declined slightly and there’s an abundance of guards on the roster at the moment, it just doesn’t seem likely that this team will bail on Herro as much as many observers have. The rotations and minutes are an Erik Spoelstra problem, and I can guarantee that his worries don’t include if Herro should get a majority of minutes.
He will still be in the game for many fourth quarters, he will still be running many bench units with Goran Dragic, and he will still be a guy that the guys on this team trust. Of course this is barring a healthy return from this foot injury that hasn’t been updated much, but it just seems that we’ve seen this situation play out way too often.
Also, I think this time off can play a big role in his overall production. Sometimes the fix for a player is just playing time, which was the case for Kendrick Nunn, but I believe a mental reset may be the solution for Herro’s struggles.
It’s just going to be up to him to see how he responds, since he will be thrown immediately back into the fire against some of the Eastern Conference’s most elite teams down the stretch, then an immediate transition into playoff time. And if there’s any stretch of games that can spark something in Herro, it’s that type of competitive stretch where the odds are against them, which is just how both he and the rest of the team likes it.