What is Tyler Herro’s next huge step in his development?

Tyler Herro was impressive in his rookie season with the Miami Heat. However, with a possible expanded role, what are Herro's next big steps in his development?

By Austin Konenski
Oct 9, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) shoots the ball against Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (39) during the first quarter in game five of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Herro put the basketball world on notice in the Eastern Conference finals when he dropped 37 points on the Boston Celtics. It was nothing short of outstanding for the rookie guard out of Kentucky, who seemingly displayed unwavering confidence during clutch time.

Herro started all six games in the NBA Finals but didn’t put up the same numbers as he did during the first three rounds of the NBA Playoffs. Herro averaged 16.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists during the playoffs when the Heat had a full roster of healthy players.

He has already shown the ability to score 16.0 points per-game during a competitive stretch of games, but what is the next step for the 20-year-old guard?

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Tyler Herro needs to create more separation/score more per-game

Miami Heat preview: Tyler Herro
Sep 8, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) and forward Jimmy Butler (22) celebrate after defeating Milwaukee Bucks in game five in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Herro’s ability to create separation and score more points-per-game is the most important aspect when it comes to achieving a Devin Booker level type of offense. The Miami Heat believe that Herro can provide this on a nightly basis and this is what he needs to accomplish.

Herro shot 38.9% from the three-point line during the 2019-20 season, which is better than any of Devin Booker’s seasons. He could project to have a better shot than Booker and is bound to make a higher volume of shots as he progresses as a shooter. One of Booker’s strong suits is his ability to score his own points.

Related: Miami Heat 2020-21 NBA season preview

While Herro has shown a great ability to drive to the hoop and finish, his next step should be creating more shots. He has been awarded open three-pointers due to Jimmy Butler. But Tyler Herro eventually needs to show that he can become a better isolation player.

To become the player the Heat believe Herro can be, he needs to average around 18-22 points-per-game this season. He already averaged 16.0 points during the NBA Playoffs, so it shouldn’t come too hard for the young guard if they believe in him.

Defense is Tyler Herro’s biggest liability

Tyler Herro’s biggest liability in his rookie season was his defense. There were concerns coming into the NBA Draft about his wingspan and defensive abilities and they were exposed on multiple occasions during the season.

Herro knows he has a target on his back when it comes to playing on defense. A backcourt or Herro and Duncan Robinson would be potent offensively, however, the duo would be shredded on the defensive end. That is one of the bigger issues when it comes to having Herro and Robinson out there at the same time.

The hope for Herro is to bulk up and at the minimum be able to hold his own on the defensive end. Herro will most likely never be a true two-way player, as he lacks the physical attributes to become an elite defender.

The Heat are pushing Herro on the defensive end and he has previously stated to expect him to be “more vocal” on that end of the floor. If the young guard can improve over last season, expect to see a Heat team with even more confidence on the defense.

Related: Top 50 NBA players heading into the 2020-’21 season.

The bottom line

Can Heat guard Tyler Herro become a star?
Dec 14, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) dribbles the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The chance of starting at point guard on a championship-level team does not happen much for young guards. Tyler Herro gained that experience last season with his superb play in the NBA Playoffs and should carry it over into this season as well.

Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn were mainly the starters throughout the regular season and playoffs, but Dragic’s wear-and-tear and Nunn’s inconsistency has been a concern as of late. With the 2020-21 season only being around two months since the last NBA Finals game, Dragic shouldn’t too much playing time to start the year.

Herro still has star written all over him. It wouldn’t be a shocking thing to see him contend for the Most Improved Player Award if he is able to average a stat-line of 21 points, five rebounds, and four assists. The starting point guard spot should be Herro’s and it’s up to him to see how far it can take him in his second year.