- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Tyler Herro is known for his confidence.
But how confident is the Miami Heat guard? What some might consider making progress with a challenging adjustment, Herro classifies as just finding his offensive rhythm.
“Honestly, I don’t really tell the difference whether I’m on the ball or off the ball because I think it is positionless,” Herro said after finishing Wednesday’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks with 21 points, four assists and a career-high 15 rebounds. “I don’t know. I think I just got my rhythm back.”
Now in a full-time starting role after starting only eight regular-season games as a rookie last season, Herro is also being asked to play the role of facilitator and initiator on offense more often.
Herro’s second NBA season is just four games old, but there have already been growing pains and breakthrough moments.
After averaging 12.5 points on 37.5 percent shooting while recording seven assists and seven turnovers in the first two games of the season, Herro has averaged 22 points on 58.6 percent shooting while dishing out 11 assists to just five turnovers in the last two games.
Herro, 20, has averaged 17 points while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from three-point range, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in the first four games of the season.
“I honestly don’t think it has anything to do with point guard or shooting guard,” Herro said, with the Heat (2-2) now traveling to take on the Dallas Mavericks on Friday (7 p.m., Fox Sports Sun).
The Heat does play a “positionless” style with All-Star center Bam Adebayo often initiating a lot of the team’s offensive actions, but coach Erik Spoelstra does believe Herro is a more natural attacker than facilitator at this point in his career.
Heat Check newsletter
Want to stay up-to-date on the Miami Heat? Get the latest news, game results, analysis and insider information in your inbox from Monday through Friday during the NBA season.
That’s one of the reasons Spoelstra moved veterans Andre Iguodala and Avery Bradley into the starting lineup alongside Herro for Wednesday’s win, with All-Star wing Jimmy Butler (sprained right ankle) out for the second consecutive game. Iguodala played the role of initiator for a chunk of the possessions that starting group was on the court, allowing Herro to play off the ball.
“Tyler can be more like who he can be in his strengths when he’s receiving passes and generating offense in that way rather than always just having to set us up as a point guard,” Spoelstra said Wednesday. “But he was very assertive, but he also read the defense better. I thought he made some really nice plays throughout the course of the game. [The Bucks] have a good defense. Even some of the plays when we weren’t making shots, it was the right read.”
Striking the right balance between attacking and facilitating is the next step for Herro, who played more of an off-ball role as a rookie last season. According to NBA tracking stats, Herro has been used as the ball-handler in pick-and-rolls in about 46.4 percent of the offensive possessions he has been on the court for this season compared to 30.3 percent last season.
It’s still very early, but Herro has been very effective in pick and rolls as a scorer this season. He ranks in the 91st percentile, scoring 1.25 points per possession (40 points on 32 possessions) on 16-of-25 shooting as the ball-handler in those pick-and-roll situations.
“I think every year, ever player, every young player is expecting to make these leaps and these bounds,” Iguodala said of Herro. “It’s part of the journey. And as you get older, you understand it takes a little bit of time to implement the things that you’ve been working on, or implement your rhythms and different things along with the team.
“Tyler is one of those guys that can make those leaps and bounds. He’s just going to have to continue to not necessarily worry about one particular thing. I think what we’re trying to do with him is groom him as a great, complete player.”
But 25 shots on 32 possessions as the pick-and-roll ball-handler is a statistic that shows the natural attacker Herro is.
“I think he’s going to have to develop that in the next stage, trying to get everyone organized,” Heat veteran guard Goran Dragic said. “Maybe get those reads on the pick-and-roll. We want him to be him. He’s a great scorer. He’s a great player for our team.”
Another number that shows the new role Herro is playing early on: Only 15.1 percent of his shot attempts this season have been on catch-and-shoot situations compared to 29.5 percent last season. He shot an impressive 44.2 percent on catch-and-shoot threes last season.
While Herro has downplayed the impact playing on the ball compared to off the ball has had on his game, he has admitted moving into a full-time starting role has required an adjustment.
“I think it’s more just adjusting to the role of starting compared to coming off the bench,” Herro said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with the point guard or shooting guard position. Like Spo said, we’re positionless. Anybody can handle, anybody can get us into offense. So I think it’s just more adjusting to being able to start instead of me being a spark coming off the bench. So it’s a little bit different, but I’m adjusting to it.
“I played the whole year off the bench last year. That role seemed to work for me, so it’s just adjusting to a new role and just being able to be my best in my role. So when I’m watching the film, I’m just watching everything. I’m watching how Goran is able to attack defenses. So just being able to learn and take away different things as I’m going through this.”
Adebayo said he knows what Herro is going through. Adebayo, 23, become a full-time starter last season after starting just 47 of the 151 regular-season games he appeared in during the first two seasons of his NBA career.
“He’s in the transition I’m in,” Adebayo said. “You go from a role player to a starter, so it’s a different feel. Usually when you come off the bench, a bench player is a spark. So he’s learning, he’s manifesting and he’s soaking in all the knowledge. The sky is the limit for that kid, man.”