As a rookie last season, Tyler Herro averaged 13.5 points per game. In the post season in which the Miami Heat advanced to the NBA Finals with great NBA odds, Herro increased his production to 16 points and five rebounds per game.
After a dominating performance as a 20-year-old in the playoffs last season, Herro has mysteriously become one of the most hated players, even by the Heat’s own fanbase. Sure, early in the season when Herro’s name floated around in trade rumors to acquire James Harden, the fans were in an uproar. On the flip side, after Herro began to struggle with his game, fans were wanting him out of town.
Part of the problem could be fatigue factor. One may wonder how a top-notch athlete just barely old enough to legally drink, can be fatigued. Instead of six-months to recover from a nearly 40-game season at Kentucky to the nearly 80 games Herro played in last season, Herro had only two months to get ready for the 2020-2021 season.
A counter-argument could be that NBA veterans have had the same amount of rest and the majority are doing just fine. How can that be? It always takes rookies and younger players to get used to playing double the number of games in a season than they did in college. After a long stoppage of play last season, Herro came back refreshed and was vastly improved.
While taking first glance at his numbers, Herro appears to have elevated his game. Yes, he’s scored more while hitting a shade higher from the floor. Playing Columbo and looking deeper into the evidence, Herro has a significantly higher usage rate but only 1.5 points per game higher. He’s actually regressed from the top 37 percent in the league to the bottom 64 percent in terms of points per shot attempted. In addition, his 3pt percentage and free throw percentage are both off from last year.
Despite the clearly drop-off from last year, Herro has shown signs of being a very good player, even surpassing what he did last season. Several members of the Heat came up in trade talks, but his was the most glaring and noticeable.
For those that are panicking and saying the Herro will never be a star because of his recent play are jumping the gun. Similarly, those that had him made out to be a career NBA All-Star after last year’s playoffs were anointing him too soon.
Overall, Herro is still putting up solid statistics, particularly for a second-year man coming off the bench. He’s in a great spot to take his game to the next level with the Heat. Fans must remember that he only has less than 1 ½ full seasons of games under his belt. His consistency must improve and get back to good playoff form, but remember, Herro’s only 21-years-old. He may still become the next great guard for the Miami Heat, but give him time before counting him out.