Herro, 21, has shown that he has the ability to be one of the greats. His performance during the Heat’s journey to the NBA Finals last year was historic for a player his age, scoring 37 points during the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.
Since then, Herro has teamed up with Chipotle to promote his own “Tyler Herro Bowl,” released a cereal called HerrO’s Fruit Hoops, and the official Miami Heat Twitter page gave him an official day of the week, “Tyler Tuesdays.” It should be noted that neither All-Star Bam Adebayo nor Jimmy Butler has official weekly celebration hype days.
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The Kentucky alum was so impressive during his rookie appearance in the playoffs, averaging 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists per game, it wasn’t a huge surprise when head coach Erik Spoelstra inserted Herro into the starting lineup for the 2020-2021 season. However, it was short-lived promotion.
Herro initially proved to be highly effective off the bench, but his regression on both offense and defense can no longer be ignored. The young boy wonder’s 3-point shooting has dipped from 39% to 33% percent.
Despite Herro’s struggles on the court, his celebrity status has continued to rise. On April 19, Five Reasons Sports Network’s Ethan Skolnick and South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman reported that his undue star status has become a major concern for the Heat on their Inside the Paint podcast.
“Herro chose to become a celebrity,” Winderman said. “He chose to become something outside the game, as is his right. With his breakfast cereal, and his Tyler Tuesdays, and his Chipotle Bowl and that’s all well and good. But you know what? Other players when they see a player doing that before they’ve truly reached it. I don’t want to say there’s a jealousy. They sort of take a scant view of the guy and say, ‘Wait a minute buddy. You haven’t done anything yet.'”
Skolnick agreed. “Ultimately, the team starts to get a certain level of concern. In this particular case, the team has been concerned now for months.”
During the Heat’s embarrassing loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Herro shot 1 of 7, leaving him -25 for the night. In Miami’s next game against the Brooklyn Nets, Herro scored only nine points, shooting 4 of 13.
Is Herro Just Having a Sophomore Slump?
It’s not fair to put all the Heat’s struggles this season on Herro, and his issues could be chalked up as a mere sophomore slump. He’s had spurts of greatness in multiple games this season, but his lack of consistency, while Adebayo and Butler are having career-high numbers on offense, is understandably frustrating.
Miami pre-maturely giving Herro a star’s welcome seems to have backfired this season, but that doesn’t mean their unwavering faith won’t pay off at some point.
Winderman noted on Monday, “Did Pat Riley overstate his value at the trading deadline? Sure, that’s what executives do when they are trying to build value. Sunday (against the Nets) actually wasn’t all that bad. He still made plays, rebounded and didn’t commit a turnover.”
Pat Riley Continues to Have High Hopes for Herro
It was confusing for many Heat fans to hear Miami had concerns over Herro’s celebrity status as Heat president Pat Riley appears to be the one who propped him up in the first place.
Herro was deemed untouchable leading up to the trade deadline and there’s still chatter on Twitter about how Miami lost out on obtaining James Harden due to Riley’s insistence that Herro was too good to give up. However, the real reason their Harden deal fell through was that the Houston Rockets asked for the entire lot of the Heat’s young talent, including Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, Precious Achiuwa and a slew of future draft picks to make a deal, not just Herro.
Following Riley’s boast of confidence in his young star in March, “It’s obviously a blessing,” Herro said. “And it was good to know that the GM of the team and the president of the team [appreciate] what I’m doing right now, and the rest of our young guys. I’ve just got to continue to keep working and continue to get better every single day. That’s what it comes down to.”