Projecting Tyler Herro’s role for Miami Heat in 2021 NBA Playoffs

Tyler Herro has been on fire from the floor since returning from his recent foot injury. What does Herro need to do if the Heat want to peak at the right time?

Tyler Herro finished the regular season averaging 15.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists while playing 30.3 minutes per game in 54 contests. Herro started the regular season as the starter and ended it on the bench, so how will he be deployed in the postseason?

The 21-year-old guard went through a slight cold stretch, followed by a foot injury that sidelined him for six contests. After he returned, Herro caught fire at the right time and has scored double-digit points in five of the last six games.

Now we enter the NBA playoffs, which is the time of the year where Herro caught the attention of those around the basketball world in his rookie season.

Tyler Herro must maintain efficient shooting

Since returning from his injury, Herro has been shooting very well from the floor. Herro shot 48.6% from the three-point line and 54.2% from the field in the last six games.

These are up from his regular-season numbers of 43.9% from the field and 36.0% from beyond the arc. Herro was struggling before his injury, but time off to heal and rest may have helped him out significantly.

Comparing this to last year’s playoffs, Herro shot 43.3% from the floor and 37.5% from the three-point line, which is actually very similar to his regular-season statistics.

If Herro can shoot above 40% from three, that will unlock so much more for the Heat as they face the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round starting Saturday. This is a rematch from last year’s semi-finals matchup.

Herro averaged 13.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists against the Bucks in the NBA Playoffs last season. He shot better from beyond the arc at 43.4% than from the field, which was 37.5%.

The Heat need Herro to replicate this performance off the bench, but at a higher clip from the field. Herro’s production is important due to the lack of bench scoring outside of him and Goran Dragic.

If the last six games have any indication of what Herro could be able to do in the NBA Playoffs, the Heat will be in a good spot to “upset’ the Bucks in the first round.

Related: NBA playoff predictions – Bracket picks & 2022 Finals champion

Miami Heat likely to use Tyler Herro in closing lineup

Miami Heat likely to use Tyler Herro in closing lineup
Jan 12, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) dribbles up court against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Herro has been a major part of the Heat’s fourth-quarter lineups in 2021. Herro alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo is the second most used three-player lineup in the fourth quarter when Butler and Adebayo are on the court.

The lineup of Butler-Adebayo-Robinson has played four more minutes than Butler-Adebayo-Herro and has an 0.2 net rating compared to the -10.5 net rating that the lineup with Herro has when playing together.

Both of those lineups are also the most used lineups in the fourth quarter when Butler plays in the game. Without Butler, the lineup of Adebayo-Robinson-Herro was the second-most used lineup and had a net rating of 10.0 in 182 minutes.

When looking at the four-player lineups, Butler-Adebayo-Robinson-Herro was the second-most used and provided a net rating of 10.1 in 84 minutes. The lineups say that Herro should play a part in the game when it’s closing time.

It would be ideal to add a defensive wing to the lineup, which would point to Andre Iguodala or Trevor Ariza playing the four. Iguodala included in this lineup was the most-used five-player lineup in the fourth quarter.

Perhaps, Miami could go with the hot hand between Herro, Kendrick Nunn, and Goran Dragic. Herro’s poor defense outweighs his offense, so if there is a night where he struggles, Dragic or Nunn would be a simple plug-in.

Herro needs to keep scoring if he wants to stay on the floor. If he’s not scoring, there’s no point for him to be closing games. If the 21-year-old guard can continue his recent hot-shooting, he should be out there with the game on the line.

Tyler Herro’s bench production vital to Heat’s hopes for deep run

Tyler Herro averaged 17.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in 15 games as a starter this season. Despite the uptick in his statistics, Herro only shot 31.8% from beyond the arc in those games.

Maybe, this was due to him being the point guard on offense and focusing more on playmaking. But it’s not hard to tell that Herro’s shooting was down when he was starting games.

Herro coming off the bench allows him to focus on shooting the ball and not having the responsibility of being the point guard on offense. That could explain why his three-point percentage was 37.7% as a bench player.

Even in last year’s NBA Playoffs, Herro was coming off the bench and Dragic was the starter. Herro was in the best place as a bench player and that’s why Erik Spoelstra made the switch to Nunn as the starting point guard.

If Spoelstra doesn’t start Nunn, it should be Dragic due to his experience and the way he has been playing lately. However, Dragic and Herro are providing the Heat exactly what the team needs off the bench.

They are the perfect 1-2 punch to come into the game and hold down the non-Butler minutes. That is important for Miami since that has been an area where they have struggled this season.

It might be the most important thing for the Heat in the NBA playoffs. They’ll need to relieve Butler when he’s on the bench and Herro will be a huge role in helping the Heat hit their peak at the right time.

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