The Miami Heat have a problem with Tyler Herro. And yet, that doesn’t mean Tyler Herro is the problem.
One of the elements that has long separated Erik Spoelstra from his fellow coaches is his ability to position talent for ultimate success.
Since the start of Herro’s NBA career, Spoelstra has done just that, including starting undrafted Kendrick Nunn in place of Herro months after Herro arrived as the face of franchise renewal with his selection the 13th pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
Nobody at the time considered Nunn the best prospect, and indeed, when it came time for the Heat to determine Nunn’s long-term impact, the Heat withdrew their qualifying offer in the 2021 offseason and allowed Nunn to leave for Los Angeles. Lakers for nothing in return.
Ultimately, Herro thrived as a reserve to the point where he emerged as the NBA’s sixth man of the year last season, at a time when it was already clear that Herro was among the Heat’s top five players.
That’s what Spoelstra does, masterfully manipulating what Pat Riley and Andy Elisburg provide and making it all work for the greater good, including securing the all-important buy-in from the player himself.
Or, come to think of it, that’s what Spoelstra did.
Because when a franchise in an offseason agrees to a four-year, $130 million extension on a player, the coach’s calculus can change.
Whether implied or insisted, players guaranteed $120 million over such a period (the final $10 million in Herro’s deal is an unlikely bonus) tend to be viewed by those writing such checks as leaders.
As in entries.
And when reflecting on where the side has gone this season with a roster largely intact from the one that came one win away in last season’s NBA Finals, Herro as a starter is, pardon the pun, the starting point, the 29 points of the season. Friday night in despite the loss to the New York Knicks.
The Heat’s 3-point shooting, as has been well reported, has been abysmal this season, a staggering drop from league-leading pace last season.
In moving Herro into the starting lineup, the Heat, for the first time in years, did not field a designated 3-point specialist in the first five, either Duncan Robinson or Max Strus.
In recent years, including two of the last three seasons when the Heat advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, the quintessential start of a Heat game was a 3-pointer by Strus or Robinson, a basket that often set the tone. , as well as realigned the opposing defender.
Then there’s the bench Herro vacated to emerge as a starter.
Last season, with Herro en route to the sixth-man award, the Heat’s bench ranked 13th in the 30-team league in offensive ranking and seventh in net rankings. This season, the Heat’s bench went to last weekend in offensive ratings and 27th in net ratings.
As the sixth man, Herro proved to be irreplaceable.
Sure, part of that is the downfall of the likes of Strus, Robinson, Gabe Vincent and, in particular, Victor Oladipo, who was seen as Herro’s successor as back-to-back scoring reserve.
Then there’s Herro in the starting lineup, which was hardly a miss, and allowed Herro to bask in a string of winning moments.
But his move into the starting line-up coincided with efforts to build Bam Adebayo into a top scorer. The result was, when ambulatory, Kyle Lowry becoming more respectful than at any other time in his career, and Jimmy Butler often waiting for Spoelstra to get through the rotation before going into his own offense.
Again, through no fault of Herro, with the Heat’s preferred starting lineup of Herro, Lowry, Butler, Adebayo and Caleb Martin still in the running this season.
However, the Butterfly Effect – the idea that small things can have non-linear impacts on a complex system – through the aforementioned influences became the Tyler Herro Effect this season, ironically with Herro having a butterfly tattoo on his ankle.
In the Miami Heat ecosystem, Herro has a lot of potential to be the right player at the right time going forward, even for the right price, as his extension starts next season on a $27 million salary.
But the question again could remain finding its right place.
ON THE TRACK
GONE AGAIN: The last twist in KZ Okpala the story ultimately again was a familiar twist. In the 2019 draft, the Heat saw so much potential in Stanford’s forward that he traded three second-round picks to the Indiana Pacers to secure his rights. Three years later, with minimal return, the Heat transferred Okpala to the Oklahoma City Thunder as a way to make room for luxury taxes to sign caleb martin to a standard contract. Then, earlier this season, Okpala was drafted as a defensive tackle and rotational player for the up-and-coming Sacramento Kings, having thrived under the Kings head coach. mike brown when they both worked on Nigeria’s Olympic program. From there, Okpala first lost his rotational role to Kings rookie Keegan Murray and then was waived a week ago after being slowed by knee problems that sidelined him. Surprisingly, Okpala is just 23 years old, out of the league at a point where the Heat still owe 2025 second-round picks and 26 from their acquisition in July 2019.
OR: In an ironic twist, with the Heat making room in the luxury tax for the addition of Kevin Love by negotiation Dewayne DedmonPhiladelphia 76ers coach doc rivers said during last week’s visit to Miami-Dade Arena that Love was one of his team’s buy targets, with the 76ers signing Dedmon. Love confirmed that the 76ers were one of his finalists. “We tried to catch him too,” Rivers said. “I know it was us and Miami, probably another team. He’s just a solid player. More importantly, if it hadn’t worked here, if he hadn’t played well, you still want him in the locker room.” As for Dedmon, who was unavailable for the 76ers’ two games last week against the Heat due to knee pain, Spoelstra said, “He’s a pro. We really enjoyed our time with Dewayne. He was very important to us when we first signed him and last year when he was healthy. He just gave us great minutes that fit who we are. He’s tough, he’s physical. He has a great defensive voice. He can really communicate well.” Spoelstra added: “You can see why they hired him, it gives them another guy with presence in the paint and the size. But he’s a nice guy. He’s a really funny guy behind the scenes. Most people don’t really get to see that side of him. But we did.
ROAD ACCOUNT: Even with his team’s Wednesday night win in Miami, Rivers was unhappy with the NBA’s scheduling that had his team play away from home the following night for a 6:30 pm start against the Dallas Mavericks, calling the schedule ” absurd”. The 76ers are in the midst of a 12-of-15 month on the road. “Everyone goes through this,” Rivers told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s not just us.”
IF YOU FIT: It’s been so far, so good for the former Heat center Meyers Leonard as he moves into his second and final 10-day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. “Just to bring out his size and physicality,” coach bucks Mike Budenholzer he said, “I think it’s an area that maybe the cast, it’s one of the things it doesn’t have. And he fills that need, and still has the ability to make threes and spread the court. He just has a lot of basketball traits that fit us. the human [side] it’s been great. He quickly adapts to the locker room.”
23. Years since the Heat suffered a home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers as lopsided as Wednesday’s 119-96 loss. It was the Heat’s biggest home loss to the 76ers since falling 126-102 on Dec. 21, 1990, on a night the Heat started a lineup of Ron Seikaly, Grant Long, Billy Thompson, glen rice It is Sherman Douglasone night that Charles Barkley scored 25 for Philadelphia.
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