Sour grapes? Well, maybe. But come on, what 23-year-old multimillionaire would not rather be spending his days and nights in Miami instead of Portland, Oregon?
Tyler Herro is a 23-year-old multimillionaire who was, quite famously, offered to the Portland Trail Blazers over the summer as the main cog in a Damian Lillard trade. Portland GM Joe Cronin did not want Herro, however and with Miami unwilling to adjust its offer, the Blazers instead dealt Lillard to Milwaukee.
We all know that. Herro knows that. But he also knows that he’s grateful to Cronin for passing on acquiring him.
“I didn’t want to go to Portland, so I’m glad Portland didn’t want me,” Herro told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Nothing against Cronin, he said, but, “I just don’t want to be in Portland. So, it’s not personal with Portland, at all.”
Blazers Already Loaded With Young Guards
And it’s probably true in reverse, too. One of the big problems with the Blazers and Herro as a trade match was not so much Herro’s talent as a scorer—he averaged 20.2 points last year—but with how he would fit on a roster that had three prominent young guards the team hopes to develop: No. 3 pick point guard Scoot Henderson, second-year man Shaedon Sharpe, and combo guard Anfernee Simons, who averaged a career-best 21.1 points last season.
When it came to Miami, Portland’s problem stemmed from the insistence on the part of Lillard and his agent to be sent to Miami—and on the Heat’s intransigence in trade negotiations—than from Herro himself.
Still, Herro was a bit baffled about how his reputation took such hit over the course of the playoffs, as the Heat made a run to the Finals once he went out with a broken hand in the postseason opener. A consensus formed that the Heat were better without Herro.
“I mean, I don’t really know what changed,” he said, per the Sentinel. “I got hurt and obviously we went on a run. So I don’t know if that changed people’s perspectives on the way that I play or my value. Nothing has changed. I haven’t gotten any worse. I’ve only gotten better, older, more experienced.
“And our team didn’t get better without me, we just started shooting better and making shots. We didn’t make shots all year. And I’m the best shooter on the team. So I don’t think with me sitting out affected our shooting percentage. I just think we started making shots.”
Miami Heat Improved Defensively, Too
Herro is right about that, mostly. The Heat were a terrible 3-point shooting team during the regular season, 34.4% from the arc. That was good only for 27th in the NBA. But when the playoffs came around—at a time when most teams see their shooting percentages decline—the Heat became the hottest team in the NBA from the arc, at 38.0%.
But, one of the reasons some felt the Heat were better without Herro on the floor was that, without him, opposing offenses did not have a defensive weak link to pick on. And the Heat did improve defensively in the playoffs, with their rating going from 112.8 down to 111.9.
Still, that difference was probably not as important to the Heat’s Finals run as the improvement in shooting. And having Herro presumably would have made them even better as shooters.
Herro is eager to show what he can do, to put the narrative about his dropping value to rest.
“My value maybe has decreased in people’s eyes,” he said, “but I’m a better player than I was last year, so there’s no way my value has decreased.”