Miami Heat: Is it a sophomore slump or a deeper issue for Tyler Herro?

Miami Heat Tyler Herro (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Heat Tyler Herro (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) /

Is it a sophomore slump are there are deeper issues at the forefront of Tyler Herro’s struggles with the Miami Heat? 

Less than a year removed from making an unlikely run to the NBA Finals in the restart bubble, the Miami Heat are in danger of having to win a play-in tournament to make the postseason. While there is a myriad of potential explanations for the team’s up-and-down play this season, one of the team’s biggest culprits this year has been Tyler Herro.

Even though it’s tough to put all the team’s issues on one player, Herro’s lack of consistency and overall effectiveness has hurt the team on both ends of the floor.

Tyler Herro was supposed to be Miami Heat’s next star

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Fresh off a breakout performance in the NBA’s restart bubble en route to the NBA Finals, which was punctuated by a 37-point performance in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, there was no young player that had a bigger performance in the league’s biggest stage last season. Herro averaged 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists on 43 percent shooting from the field and 38 percent shooting from 3-point range in the playoffs for the Heat.

Herro’s stock was at an all-time high and the Heat appeared to have another budding star on the roster. The future was bright for the Heat and many believed that the team’s big three of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Herro would help carry this team to contention over the next few years.

Fast forward to this season and Herro’s regression has hurt the Heat on multiple fronts.

Miami began the season by experimenting with Herro as a starter. It never felt like the right role for Herro and he never seemed to be comfortable. He was moved to a bench role and has played a bit better and has looked more comfortable, but his 3-point shooting has hurt Miami’s offense.

Herro shot 39 percent from 3-point range last season but is only shooting 33 percent from distance on nearly six attempts per contest this season. He’s also shooting a lower percentage from the field overall this season. Herro has also struggled as a playmaker and turns the ball over two times per game.

Herro’s regression in shooting and overall offensive consistency has crippled Miami’s offense. The regression, to a certain extent, from Duncan Robinson, hasn’t helped either. To put this into perspective, the Heat has a worse team offensive rating this season (ranked 25th, 108.3) compared to last season (ranked 7th, 111.9) while Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are having the best offensive seasons of their careers thus far.

That’s…not great. Or, at least, not a good look for the Heat as a team overall.

Instead of taking a step forward as a team with its two best players having great offensive seasons, Miami has taken a big step back on the offensive end. And a big reason why has been the team’s 3-point shooting regression.

As a team last season, the Heat shot 38 percent from deep which ranked second in the league. This season, the Heat is shooting 34.7 percent from distance which ranks 25th. And, unfortunately, Herro has been at the forefront of the Heat’s 3-point woes – dropping from a good 3-point shooter to a below-average one this season.

And with as much praise as Herro gained after his performance in the playoffs last season, it’s only right to point out when he has left much to be desired.

The hope is that Tyler Herro’s struggles can be attributed to a sophomore slump. Herro has shown flashes throughout this season of breakout out of this 3-point shooting slump too. But, at this point, the Heat has to hope that Herro’s struggles are nothing more than just a sophomore shooting slump.

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If the Miami Heat is going to emerge as a threat in the playoffs, they’re going to need Tyler Herro to look a little more like the version of himself that wowed in the NBA’s restart bubble and less like the inconsistent one that we’ve seen this season.