Shooters Shoot, And Tyler Herro Shot

Miami's First Round Pick Debuts As Advertised
Tyler Herro
Rocky Widner
by Couper Moorhead

When you draft a player with a particular skillset, at minimum you typically want to see that skillset show up in Summer League.

When you draft a shooter, you want them to shoot.

That is not a problem for Tyler Herro.

In a 24-minute debut against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Sacramento Summer League, Herro took 10 threes – off the dribble, in transition, sizing up mismatches, spotting up well past NBA range – and 15 shots overall. At Kentucky, the most threes he ever attempted in a single game was eight. That he made five of those shots from deep (for 18 total points) was nice, to be sure, but he could have missed every one of his looks with those compact mechanics and it wouldn’t have mattered one bit. The player the HEAT drafted came out and played like the player the HEAT thought they drafted.

“We definitely like that aggressiveness,” Summer League head coach Eric Glass said.

Herro’s tape at Kentucky made it pretty clear that he had a more expansive game than your typical college shooter, so it’s not as though the HEAT were unveiling a skillset revelation in the same way as Bam Adebayo suddenly busting out with the ball full-court a few years back, but it was still notable that from the very first possession Herro was running offense. There were times when the defense got in his face and kept him perpendicular to the rim. There were also moments, hitting the dive man off a screen or running a shooter-shooter pick-and-roll with Duncan Robinson, where the simple plays looked natural.

“He’s got a pretty unique skillset. He’s not just a shooter,” Glass said. “He can handle. He’s learning how to make plays. Every game he’ll learn something new, but we like him in that spot.”

Whether it’s something Herro does during the regular season remains to be seen. No judgements are coming after a single game in July. Just remember that the HEAT don’t push a player to do something, particularly on offense, unless they think there’s something there.

When it came to shooting, they didn’t have to push at all.

Transition was Herro’s second-most common play type at Kentucky, accounting for just over a quarter of his total possessions. He scored 1.27 points per possession on those plays, with an effective field-goal percentage of 65.0 on 103 shots which roughly translates to film as Captain Kaneda’s final scene in Sunshine. Those numbers also translated to Summer League almost immediately. Both off the catch…

And off the dribble.

These are fairly simple plays against defenses that have had about three days to prepare, so Herro getting open here shouldn’t blow your mind. Yet it still matters that he was open. After the draft we invoked the name of Ray Allen for reference, not comparison, due to the fact that Allen spent an entire career getting open in ways no defense should have ever allowed but there he always was, stepping into space in the open floor and making the opposing coach call timeout. Herro has a similar knack, one that we’ll probably appreciate better over time rather than in any single highlight.

“That’s kind of a talent you have,” Glass said. “He can find those open spaces. He knows where to get the ball. We’re not teaching him that. That’s something that he came in with.”

Creating for himself in the half-court, Herro looked most comfortable getting to his pull-up, attempting a number of step-backs and this one side-step which, while a miss, helps to illustrate how much space he can create and still rise up on balance.

“Actually that’s where I shoot my best,” Herro said, referencing his off-the-dribble game.

Again, Herro’s college numbers back this up, where he shot 44.5 percent on all dribble jumpers. But wait, is he saying he’s actually better on what are typically more difficult shots?

“Right now, I’m just working on shooting off the catch.”

It appears so. Which, sure. But also…

Not bad if that’s a work-in-progress.

We’ll keep this relatively brief. There will be more to dive into as Summer League rolls into training camp and preseason and, eventually, real games. For now, the important thing is that Herro looks as advertised.

There’s work to do, as with any 19-year old, but living up to your own standards in a debut outing is nothing to take for granted.


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