A Herro’s Journey
Written by: Azam Masood
To an outside observer, Tyler Herro’s sophomore year progression was fairly typical of a player of his pedigree. Averaging 13.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists his rookie season (earning All-NBA rookie 2nd team honors), Herro bumped all his raw averages up (15.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists) in season number two.
Among the more subtle improvements, Herro made were increased efficiency at the rim (57% to 67% between rookie and sophomore seasons) and improved playmaking that came with a great deal more on-ball reps, largely out of necessity, as the HEAT team dealt with injuries and protocol-related absences. For a player drafted in the NBA lottery, this sort of progression would satisfy, if not outright excite, most teams.
But in Miami, the standards tend to be a bit higher than most other places.
“I have expectations for myself, and I feel like I didn’t meet my expectations [last year], so that’s what I mean when [I say] I’m going to have a bounce-back year,” states Herro, matter-of-factly.
Again, a 20-year-old averaging 15-5-3 while dealing with his second straight atypical NBA year (a condensed 72-game season, limited or no fans in stands, sudden game postponements) probably shouldn’t be as hard on himself as Tyler appears to be.
But, as someone who had the rare distinction of starting multiple NBA Finals games as a rookie in 2020, the silky shooting two-guard is acutely aware that a substantive and sustained leap, rather than an incremental one, is necessary for Miami to reach their lofty ambitions.
“Not only me, but the whole team is [aiming for] a bounce-back year. We obviously had big expectations last year. Coming into this year is no different. We want to win a championship.”
Part of the process for Tyler was transforming his body, adding the bulk necessary to finish over contact, navigate screens, and earn more trips to the free-throw line. Many afternoons spent with HEAT Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric Foran led to 10 pounds of added muscle mass.
“Putting on weight was a big key for me this summer,” Tyler acknowledged. “I think it can help me in a lot of ways offensively and defensively. “
Adding a multi-time All-Star point guard in Kyle Lowry will also certainly help, streamlining Tyler’s role and giving him the opportunity to soak up everything the veteran has to offer.
“[Getting to know him] has been amazing,” Herro excitedly noted. “He’s told me it’s his 16th year and he has to have fun while he’s doing this. That’s big for me and the rest of the guys. We’re all coming here working hard every day, and the most important thing is enjoying it with each other. Kyle is going to bring that out of us and be a big leader, a big example for us.”
“I think Kyle’s going to bring so much to the table. I think we can really complement each other well. We can both shoot it, both handle it, so whoever’s closest to the outlet will be able to run in transition and set guys up. We can play off each other as well as Jimmy. I think this will be a very good combination.”
Herro also admits that the unprecedented nature of his first two NBA seasons was trying at times and acknowledges the circumstances that he and his fellow 2019 draft classmates have had to deal with since entering the league. With an 82-game regular season on the horizon, Herro hopes that his third season and the benefit of a normal schedule will help in his quest for consistent excellence.
“I’ve never really [gone] through a full season, so this is something I’m looking forward to,” says Herro. “I’m really excited about this year, not only because of the team, but to have a full NBA experience, being able to play 82 games, travel, and have fans back in the arena.”