Down 2, 12 seconds left. Jimmy Butler pokes the ball free from Joel Embiid’s hands and Tyler Herro grabs it in transition. He retreats back out to the wing as the entire Heat arena takes a lengthy inhale and buries the triple to take the lead.
That’s the moment that really turned some heads regarding Herro as a player his rookie season, but what has changed since then?
Stats? Not really, since the numbers were pretty similar in his sophomore season which may be viewed as a negative thing by many.
Role? Although it did alter quite a bit to begin the season, they immediately put him back into that sixth man role to be a straight bucket getter this season.
The only thing that really changed when talking about Herro this past season was expectations, which is a pretty wild thing. After an incredible bubble run his rookie year, there was a general consensus that another major leap was going to be made in an uneven year, but there was nothing “major” about last season.
Other than three-point percentages going in the opposite direction, everything else increased in the slightest fashion. 13.5 PPG to 15.1 PPG. 2.2 APG to 3.4 APG. 4.1 RPG to 5.0 RPG. 43% field goal percentage to 44% field goal percentage.
Of course the Heat really needed some type of leap if they wanted to get to the next level with the previous roster, but this idea that his numbers decreased this past season is just absolutely incorrect. He just carried over that same regular season play-style, but that doesn’t seem to be the case heading into his third season.
The team improved at the point guard position, adding Kyle Lowry. They improved defensively by adding PJ Tucker, Markieff Morris, and of course, Lowry. They also added a guy from each of the last three Championship teams.
Things are looking slightly different in Miami, and things will look “slightly” different for Herro as well. The role will be a familiar one, but the usage inside that role will be up to him. And he has a chance to really shine with the current roster contruction.
He kind of blended in with the past group, due to him being included in the weakness of the team with defensive capabilities. They’ve filled that hole now, and now they need a guy to put the ball in the basket.
And there’s a couple major areas of the offense to keep an eye on for his downhill expansion….
Off the Catch
This play above is something we’ve seen for quite some time with Herro in Miami. Starting in the corner, flying off a double off-ball screen before catching and exploding. He has good touch once he gets around the rim, so it’s continually been about finding ways to get him down there.
Herro has to basically take some things out of Duncan Robinson’s book with off-ball movement. Obviously not to the magnitude of the way Robinson does it, since he’s one of the best in the league at what he does and it bends the defense greatly, but Herro has to be on the move as much as possible.
Stagnant offense hurts him. Patiently waiting in the corner off the ball or at the top of the key on the ball isn’t ideal for a Miami offense or Herro himself. We’re going to see plenty of those off-ball screens shown above, but there will need to be some added layers if he’s going to push them in the right direction…
Herro’s initial step of offensive diversity is displayed above: the snake dribble. It gets him moving in all kinds of directions, and his awkward looking, but very comfortable, push-shots really gave his skill-set a boost when he was playing with that high-level confidence.
Using the screen on the wing, spinning back the opposite direction after the roll, and rising up in the lane. Pull-up elbow jumpers and open lob passes will always be there, but this stuff is what will keep a defense on its toes. And Herro will need to keep defenders on their toes in this role.
In an ideal situation, isolations could be used more and more with Herro and the bench unit, but I don’t really see that being the case. Dewayne Dedmon’s usual screen and roll, Morris DHO’s at the top of the key, and obviously the Lowry effect will all be factored into the game-plan, which will be a bunch of screening to force miscommunications defensively.
That snake dribble showcased some growth this season, but it feels like that will still be too predictable. But a consistent jumper following fancy footwork in the interior shifts the discussion…
The scouting report on Herro can probably pinpoint where he likes to get on the floor in these type of sets. Rising up with the floater after two dribbles or an immediate pull-up at the elbow. Herro uses neither.
A quick step inside to fake the attack led to a smooth pull-back for the jumper. Now that type of expansion in his game means they will be able to put more on his plate.
Some offensive creativity will be crucial for his game, and this type of stuff was seen down the stretch of the season. There was no major jump in his game on the floor last season or any crazy statistic changes, but there were some minor adjustments that we haven’t seen before.
The third year is always important for players, and it’s when we will get to see a different version of guys like Herro. But even if that other version comes along with some unique things in his bag that was shown above, there’s still one thing that must be revived to make it all come together…
Spotting Up from Deep
The one statistic drop this past season was catch and shoot threes, which was a bit surprising. He went from over 44% on spot-ups to a little over 39% on the same number of attempts. If next season can mirror his rookie year as an outside shooter off the catch, I believe that he can make the necessary step to do his job and more on this Heat team.
While many envision his role on the bench unit to be an on-ball guy with facilitating duties, I believe it’ll be the opposite. Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Kyle Lowry won’t really be on the bench at the same time next season, meaning they can continue to play Herro to his biggest strengths.
Running off screens to attack, mixing it up in the mid-range for easy scoring, and more importantly, efficient shooting on kick-outs from all of Miami’s play-makers.
There’s a formula for him to be successful on this team next season. In some ways, he was just another guy on the team last year heading in, with guys like Goran Dragic, Kendrick Nunn, and others playing similar roles.
Now he has his role on this team again and it’s only his. It’s the same role but a different game. And that different game of his can be the changing factor between Miami winning a playoff series and losing one.
It’s setting up perfectly for him to be effective, and nobody on the team is standing in his way of that very necessary play-style.
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