While the Heat’s Tyler Herro is only in his sophomore year of the NBA, Miami’s head coach Erik Spoelstra named him as a starter for the 2020-2021 NBA season. While the 21-year-old missed a stretch of games due to a neck injury, when Herro’s healthy, he’s a fixture in the starting lineup … until now.
Herro started on the bench during the Heat’s revenge match against the Washington Wizards on February 5. The Kentucky alum was replaced in the lineup with veteran Goran Dragic, and the Heat went on to have their biggest win of the season. After losing, 103-100, to Washington two days earlier, the Heat crushed the Wizards, 122-95.
Due to COVID-19 and injuries, the Heat have circled through 16 different starting lineups so far this season. If Herro performs best in relief, is that where he will stay? As the first player coming off the bench, he scored 17 points, four boards, four assists, and a steal against the Wizards.
That’s tough, Herro 😳 pic.twitter.com/72UD0pFTaC
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 4, 2021
With the Heat’s record being 8-14, they don’t have any time left to keep playing with their starting lineup during this shortened 72-game season. If last night was the winning combo, will Herro remain on the bench moving forward?
65 points over his last two games. Back-to-back career-high nights.
Tyler Herro is still going 📈📈📈 pic.twitter.com/K7JHNt6F1P
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) January 13, 2021
Before Herro started suffering from neck spasms, he was delivering a series of stellar performances on the court. While most of the Heat’s starting lineup was sidelined due to COVID-19 tracing, the 6-foot-5 guard stepped up in a big way. He scored 31 points against the Wizards on January 9 and racked up 34 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 12.
Coach Spo Clarified Benching Herro was Not a Punishment
Coach Spoelstra is known for running a position-less team, meaning no spot or role is ever permanent. He expects all of his players to do what’s best for the team. It’s not personal, Spoelstra only wants to do what will bring the Heat one more win.
After Friday’s game, which brought the Heat their second win over the best 10 games, Spoelstra explained that benching Herro was not any sort of punishment.
“It’s not an indictment on anyone,” Spoelstra explained. “We’re just trying to stabilize it as much as we can. It’s certainly not an indictment on Tyler. He’s going to play starter’s minutes, regardless. He just has to manage whatever the narratives that are out there and continue to give us productive minutes. He’s getting better. His defense was good tonight, and offensively we need his skill set.”
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The Heat’s next tilt is scheduled for Super Bowl Sunday. Miami will travel to New York to take on the Knicks on February 7 with tipoff at 1 p.m. ET.
With Dragic already listed as out due to a right ankle sprain, and Avery Bradley sidelined with an injury for the next coming weeks, there’s a chance Herro will return to the starting lineup on Sunday.