B/R One-on-One: 10 Questions for Miami Heat Rising Star Tyler HerroJanuary 7, 2022
PORTLAND, Ore. — The conversation around Tyler Herro has swung wildly since he was drafted by the Miami Heat in 2019. When he broke out in the bubble as the Heat made a run to the NBA Finals in the COVID-19-shortened 2019-20 season, it looked like Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra may have had a future superstar on their hands. After a disappointing second season, many wondered if that hype was premature.
But in his third season, Herro has settled nicely into a role coming off the bench with offseason addition Kyle Lowry and sharpshooter Duncan Robinson starting in the backcourt. In the 23 games in which Herro has been a reserve this season, he's averaging 20.2 points and shooting 42.5 percent from three-point range.
Miami’s two established All-Stars, Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, have missed significant time with injuries, but the Heat have managed to remain in the top four of a tough Eastern Conference playoff race. And as they've navigated the same COVID obstacles as everybody else, Herro's development has been key in their staying afloat.
Bleacher Report caught up with Herro on Wednesday morning at the Heat's shootaround, hours before their 115-109 win over the Trail Blazers, to discuss his season and how the Heat have weathered the challenging circumstances of this season.
B/R: Have you felt refreshed this season after having basically no time off between the Finals in the bubble and the start of last season?
Herro: Yeah, for sure. It was a quick turnaround from after the bubble to season two, and we didn't really have much of an offseason. We didn't have time to relax and decompress and recalibrate as a team. Now, I feel like we have a couple of new guys, we added some veterans and a couple new young guys. Now we're fresh and ready for the season.
B/R: Since the bubble season was your rookie year, you haven't even had a real offseason since you've been in the league.
Herro: Especially after the bubble. It was like 30 days, or something like that, into the next season. I was working out within two weeks after the bubble. This past offseason was a little bit longer. It helped me decompress and take a step away from the game and have enough time to get in the weight room and get stronger, and add things to my game.
B/R: What's the biggest thing you added to your game?
Herro: The game has really slowed down for me. I've watched some film, been able to take things from other guys who have been in the league for a little bit and add it to my game. Finding different ways to score, getting stronger and being able to get to my spots more efficiently, things like that.
B/R: You're shooting way better in games where you come off the bench than when you start. What's the biggest difference in how you find your rhythm between those two roles?
Herro: Honestly, I don't even know. When I'm coming off the bench, I kind of have my own unit, so things run through me. When I start, I play with the starting unit and I haven't really played with them all season. It's not what I'm accustomed to. In training camp and preseason, I played with the second unit, so I'm a little more comfortable there.
B/R: Did Spo tell you at the beginning of camp that being the sixth man was going to be your role?
Herro: Yeah. Come off the bench, be a spark plug, score. I'm usually playing in the fourth quarter to close the games. To me, that's all that matters.
B/R: Being a star in high school and college, was it an adjustment coming off the bench in the NBA, or is the Manu Ginobili role something you embrace?
Herro: Every championship team has that guy that comes off the bench. Guys who don't start can still impact the game in different ways. So whatever the team needs me to do to help win a championship, whether it's starting, coming off the bench, whatever it is, I can do it. I'm willing to do either-or.
B/R: What has Kyle Lowry's impact been?
Herro: He's been amazing. He's been a great mentor for me in my third season, continuing to be able to learn from veteran guys like him. I didn't really know him before this season, so being able to build that relationship with him, he helps me so much.
B/R: What's the biggest thing you've taken from him?
Herro: It's always changing. Whether it's something on the fly in a game, he'll pull me to the side and tell me something I need to do differently that he saw. But it's all positive criticism. He tries to help me get better, which is all I can ask for.
B/R: How much of a difference is there between his leadership style and Jimmy's?
Herro: I've got a good relationship with both of them. I'm able to lean on Jimmy in different ways and I lean on Kyle in different ways. Just to have both of them on the same floor, on the same as me, I think it's big for my career.
B/R: You guys have had a bunch of key guys go down at different points this season—Bam is out for a while, Jimmy just went out, Kyle's missed a few games—and you're still fourth in the East. What do you attribute that to?
Herro: We're a really deep team. Coming into the season, people underestimated our depth. We have a bunch of different guys who can produce on any night.