The Miami Heat have been playing lights out recently, with an 8-2 record in their last 10 games. Amid their hot streak, the Heat have taken over sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference. Wednesday night, Miami had even more firepower added to the lineup with the return of Tyler “I’m a bucket” Herro from COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Herro dropped 21 points in his return, helping Miami beat the Knicks, 110-96. He also broke Dwyane Wade’s franchise record for the most 20-point games before age 23. Besides missing a few games this year for various reasons (injuries, COVID, etc.), Herro has been nothing short of baller status. He averages 20.7 ppg, and just under 5 rpg and 4 apg, while shooting 39 percent from three-point range. Tyler is doing all this coming off the bench as the Heat’s sixth man.
Right now, Herro is the odds-on favorite to win the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award with the season he’s posted thus far. If he stays steady on this path, I don’t see any genuine contenders swooping in to overthrow him for the award this year. It’s Tyler’s to lose at this point.
Some of us scoffed at Herro’s comments about being on the same level as Luka Dončić, Trae Young, and Ja Morant a few months back. I don’t think he’s quite at that level yet, but he’s a lot closer now than I thought he was when he made that proclamation. The main difference is Dončić and Young are tasked with carrying the load for their teams as the number one option. Herro is usually the teams third or fourth option most games for the Heat, but he’s definitely proving his worth on the court.
Now Herro needs to put it all together and make a significant impact for the Heat during the postseason. Last year’s four-game sweep at the hands of Milwaukee wasn’t his best showing. Herro’s three-point percentage dipped to 31.6 percent in the series from 36 percent in the regular season. His overall field goal percentage took a dramatic hit falling from 43.9 percent during the regular season down to 31 percent in the playoffs.
That drop-off from the previous year’s playoff performance in the Orland bubble led many to believe Herro might be a fluke. But with the season he’s currently having, it’s hard to believe this is the case. I think Herro and the entire Heat roster just had a bad series against the Bucks last postseason. Miami was one of the most reshuffled teams last year due to pandemic- and injury-related unavailability in the NBA. This season is shaping up to look much different come May and June. And I believe these Heat have what it takes to make it back to the Eastern Conference Finals this year. I’m also expecting some big performances out of Herro come playoff time.