Tyler Herro is in the middle of his fourth NBA season. He already has helped the Miami Heat reach the NBA Finals as a rookie in 2020 and won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award while playing a big role on a Heat team that made it to the Eastern Conference finals in his third NBA season last year.
So it can be easy to forget that Herro, who turned 23 on Friday, is still the third-youngest player on the Heat’s roster after he was drafted by the organization as a 19-year-old in 2019.
“It feels like a while ago, but it feels like yesterday at the same time. It’s weird,” Herro said ahead of Sunday afternoon’s home matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans when asked to reflect on the night he was drafted. “I feel like I just got in the league. But it happens fast as you can see.
“Year 4 is already more than halfway through. It’s about to be the All-Star break and then the end of this season, and then it will be Year 5. So it’s crazy how it just continues to keep going. But yeah, it’s a blessing just to be here and continuing to play the game I love.”
Herro entered Sunday averaging 20.6 points per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from three-point range, to go along with career-highs in rebounds (5.9 per game) and assists (4.4 per game) in his first season as a full-time starter.
“I think the game really has just slowed down,” said Herro, who signed a four-year extension with the Heat in October that includes $120 million guaranteed and another $10 million in incentives. “I think I’m making the right plays on both ends, really. The game has slowed down.”
One of the biggest areas of growth in Herro’s game this season has been his production in pick-and-rolls.
The Heat has scored 1.14 points per possession when Herro is the ball-handler in pick-and-rolls (passes included) this season, according to Synergy Sports, which is in the NBA’s 91st percentile. The Heat scored 0.95 points per possession in those situations last season, which was in the 52nd percentile.
A large part of Herro’s pick-and-roll success has to do with his chemistry with Heat center Bam Adebayo. With Herro handling the ball and Adebayo serving as the roller, they have formed one of the most effective pick-and-roll duos in the league.
“I think just being cool off the court plays a big role into that,” Herro said of his pick-and-roll connection with Adebayo. “Having that connection and communicating with each other away from basketball helps when you get out here on the court. It makes it that much easier. And then, obviously, the skills that we both bring to the floor allows us to have a good connection on the court, too.”
There has been growth for Herro off the court, too, as he became a father of two when his second child and first son, Harlem Herro, was born earlier this month. His daughter, Zya Elise Herro, was born in September 2021.
“It’s different, for sure, than having one [child] in the house,” Herro said. “Just having one was definitely easier. But with two now, it’s different. A lot of people in the house just helping and everyone in my family being around as much as they can. It’s a lot of people who are around, lots of things going on. But it’s a blessing to have another child.”
Prior to the Pelicans’ first matchup of the season against the Heat on Wednesday, New Orleans coach Willie Green was asked about the key to slowing Heat star Jimmy Butler.
“We have to make him shoot outside shots,” Green said. “He’s really good when he catches the ball in sort of like the mid-post and elbow areas and he attacks and gets to the free-throw line. So we have to make him take contested shots, but also not allow him to get easy points by going to the free-throw line.”
Entering Sunday, 581 of Butler’s 715 points or 81.3 percent of his points this season have come from either inside the paint or at the free-throw line. He’s shooting 57 of 153 (37.3 percent) from outside the paint this season.
The Heat ruled out Nikola Jovic (lower back stress reaction), Duncan Robinson (finger surgery) and Omer Yurtseven (ankle surgery) for Sunday’s game against the Pelicans. Udonis Haslem is listed as probable because of right Achilles tendinosis.
The Pelicans will be without Brandon Ingram (toe contusion) and Zion Williamson (hamstring strain) against the Heat. Naji Marshall is doubtful because of toe soreness.