Tyler Herro

Heat Notes: Roster, Haslem, ECF

Zach Lowe of ESPN tracks the Heat‘s impressive front office maneuvering that took them from the lottery in 2015 back to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020, despite having traded away a number of their draft picks during that time. Lowe applauds the team’s savvy drafting of All-Star Bam Adebayo and potential future All-Star shooting specialist Tyler Herro in the 2017 and 2019 drafts, respectively.

“The doubt was whether [Adebayo] could really do much on offense,” said Heat senior adviser of basketball operations Chet Kammerer. “I just felt like, with his love for the game and his work ethic, he’s going to be OK in that area.”

The Heat also hit on three undrafted free agent role players in point guard Kendrick Nunn this season, shooting guard Duncan Robinson last year, and forward Derrick Jones Jr. in 2017 after a brief stint with the Suns. Miami was apparently one of two contenders for Dorian Finney-Smith after the 2016 draft, but lost out to the Mavericks.

Of course, All-Star Jimmy Butler was the key addition this offseason. During the 2016/17 “Three Alphas” Bulls season – when Dwyane Wade teamed up with Butler and Rajon Rondo in Chicago – Wade and Butler discussed just how special the much-ballyhooed “Heat culture” really was. That conversation apparently set the stage for Butler prioritizing the Heat above all other suitors in free agency during the summer of 2019, despite Miami lacking any room to sign a maximum-salaried free agent. Miami made a four-team sign-and-trade for the team’s now-top star.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • The Heat’s playoff-ready roster, comprised by acquiring key under-regarded prospects and never fully bottoming out, is also examined by HoopsHype’s Frank Urbina in another quality piece.
  • 17-season Heat lifer Udonis Haslem, a crucial role player for each of Miami’s three titles, remains noncommittal on whether or not 2019/20 will prove to be his final season as a player, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “There is a value and a need for me here,” Haslem said. “It doesn’t have to be the way that everybody thinks it should be. If I have to put on a suit and stand on the sideline, just because everybody else thinks I should. I found value in this locker room, and I’ve been able to move the needle and help us win games, and that’s what it’s all about.”
  • Ahead of the first game of the Heat’s Eastern Conference Finals series against the Celtics, we asked you who you expected to advance to the NBA Finals from Eastern Conference. As of this writing, the third-seeded Celtics have received 54% of over 1,300 votes.

Ja Morant, Kendrick Nunn Headline All-Rookie Team

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, who previously won the Rookie of the Year award, was the only player unanimously selected to this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the league announced in a press release.  A panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters selected the team.

Heat guard Kendrick Nunn collected the second-most First Team votes (98) and total points (197). Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke, Pelicans forward and top overall draft pick Zion Williamson, and Warriors forward Eric Paschall rounded out the First Team.

Morant and Clarke became the first Grizzlies duo named to the All-Rookie First Team since the 2001/02 season, when Pau Gasol and Shane Battier earned the honor. Nunn is the first Heat player named to the First Team since Michael Beasley in 2008/09.

Heat guard Tyler Herro, Raptors guard Terence Davis II, Bulls guard Coby White, Hornets forward P.J. Washington, and Wizards forward Rui Hachimura gained All-Rookie Second Team honors.

Knicks wing and third overall pick RJ Barrett finished 13 points behind Hachimura for the final spot on the Second Team, with Sixers forward Matisse Thybulle narrowly missing a spot as well.

The voting was conducted based on regular-season games played prior to the restart.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Out For Game 5

Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss Game 5 of the Bucks‘ second-round series vs. the Heat on Tuesday night due to his sprained right ankle, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Antetokounmpo, who suffered his ankle sprain during Game 3 and re-aggravated the injury in Game 4, had been listed as questionable and was doing everything he could to return to the court, with head coach Mike Budenholzer telling reporters this afternoon that Giannis’ status would be a game-time decision. However, the quick turnaround from Sunday’s game apparently didn’t give the ankle enough time to heal.

Milwaukee managed to pull out a victory in Game 4 despite not having Antetokounmpo available for the second half, but extending the series again without the reigning MVP will be a tall task. Facing a 3-1 deficit, the Bucks will be eliminated with a loss. A win would force a Game 6 on Thursday and would give Giannis another opportunity to return.

While the Bucks will be without their leading scorer and rebounder, the Heat got some better injury news today. Jae Crowder (ankle), Tyler Herro (hip), and Kelly Olynyk (knee), who had all been listed as questionable on the injury report, are all expected to play tonight, per head coach Erik Spoelstra (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel).

Eastern Notes: Herro, Giannis, Raptors, Pistons

Tyler Herro hit some huge shots late in the Heat’s overtime loss to the Bucks during Game 4 on Sunday. He’s still not guaranteed of playing on Tuesday, according to NBA.com’s injury report. The rookie shooting guard is listed as questionable for Game 5 on Tuesday due to a right hip bruise. Two other Miami rotation players – forward Jae Crowder (left ankle sprain) and center Kelly Olynyk (right knee bruise) – are also considered questionable for Game 5.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bucks shouldn’t risk their future by allowing Giannis Antetokounmpo to play again in their second-round playoff series, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports opines. Milwaukee has little chance of winning three consecutive games and playing Antetokounmpo — who is listed as questionable for Game 5 with a sore right ankle — could do more damage than good. Goodwill cites Grant Hill and Kevin Durant as examples of players who tried to play through pain in the playoffs and wound up with more serious injuries.
  • Continuity has allowed the Raptors to overcome the loss of Kawhi Leonard and make another postseason run, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. Many of their rotation players have been with the organization for at least three years, fostering good chemistry. They also play with a chip on their shoulders, eager to prove their detractors wrong.
  • The Pistons will be one of the eight teams not invited to Orlando to hold team camps, beginning in the middle of this month. Pistons.com’s Keith Langlois explores how each of their core players can make the most of their prolonged off-season.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Herro, Dragic, Hill

Heat center Bam Adebayo has made a noticeable impact during the team’s first-round series against the Pacers, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald details.

Adebayo, 23, has averaged 15.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and five assists in three games, shooting 53% from the floor in 33.7 minutes of work. The Heat have won each of the three contests, and it’s largely due to Adebayo’s production and energy on both ends of the floor.

“His biggest moments came down the stretch on both ends [in Game 3], those rebounds were big time,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We needed those extra relief opportunities, because they jammed us up a couple of times and forced us into a couple of turnovers. Those relief points and those free throws were key.”

Adebayo grabbed multiple key offensive rebounds on Saturday, finishing the contest with 22 points and 11 boards. His improvement since being drafted 14th by the team in 2017 is well-documented. The Heat will desperately need his production if the team advances to the second round, with either Milwaukee or Orlando waiting as an opponent.

“I feel like the player that I am, it’s hard to [game plan] me out,” Adebayo said. “That’s because I do a lot of things so well. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back. But just because I screen well, I get guys open. It doesn’t always have to be about scoring with me. In Game 2, I had seven points but everybody said I had the biggest impact on the game. It’s little stuff like that. … When my shot isn’t falling, when my offense is not going, I always bank on my defense and my effort.”

There’s more out of Miami today:

  • Tyler Herro has no plans of backing down from the Pacers’ isolation attacks throughout the rest of the series, as relayed by Anthony Chiang (Twitter link). “It’s no secret who they’re going at. They’re going at me and Duncan,” Herro said. “There’s no secret about it. I think everybody sees it. But that’s something that I’m not going to run from it.” Herro finished with 20 points in Game 3 but was targeted frequently on defense, allowing multiple baskets throughout the fourth quarter. Herro has been working with Miami’s development coaches on studying film and improving his defense this season, a process that will likely continue in the coming years.
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel explores how the Heat nearly shipped Goran Dragic to Dallas in the trade that brought Jimmy Butler to Miami last year. Dragic has been essential for the Heat in the first round, averaging 22.7 points, 5.7 assists and 34 minutes as the team’s starting point guard.
  • The Heat are in the midst of another player transformation, this time working to incorporate Solomon Hill into the team’s hard-working culture, Winderman examines in a separate story for the Miami Herald. Hill, who was acquired along with Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala from Memphis in February, has yet to see concrete minutes for Miami in his seventh NBA campaign. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

Heat Notes: Closers, Butler-Dragic, Benched Players, Injuries

The Heat have found playoff success thus far with a closing lineup comprising Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala and Bam Adebayo, per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. This closing lineup resolved the last 7:57 of the team’s Game 1 victory in Miami’s quarterfinals series against the Pacers (posting a +10 plus-minus), plus the final 7:45 of the Heat’s hard-fought Game 2 win (where the group finished with a +1).

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised the groups effectiveness on both sides of the ball. “Defensively, they’ve been good,” Spoelstra said. “Offensively, we’ve been able to keep it simple and get it to either Goran or Jimmy to make the plays and you trust that they’re going to get you something good, a clean look.”

There’s more from South Beach:

  • A key duo within the Heat’s closing lineup, guards Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler, have benefited from their playing minutes together being expanded from 14 MPG to 22.5 MPG in the postseason, according to Manny Navarro of The Athletic. Butler and Dragic have become a very effective dynamic duo for Miami. “One of my all-time favorite teammates,” Butler said. “We just connect.”
  • Heat power forward Meyers Leonard and rookie point guard Kendrick Nunn both have yet to crack Miami’s postseason rotation, as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel details. Nunn started for the Heat all season. Though frustrated about the benching, Leonard voiced optimism that both he and Nunn would see action soon. “[S]taying ready is important, so when I get my opportunity I’ll be prepared,” Leonard said. “There’s going to be a moment that we need Kendrick Nunn, make no mistake.”
  • Heat forwards Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr. have both been listed as questionable to play in Game 3 of their series against the Pacers on Saturday due to ankle injuries, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link).

Southeast Notes: Herro, Heat, Magic, Robinson

Heat guard Tyler Herro showed flashes of brilliance in the team’s 119-112 loss to the Suns on Saturday, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes.

Herro, who’s still in his rookie season, recorded 25 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists on 10-for-16 shooting, putting forth one of his best games this year. Despite his impressive play, Miami still lost the contest due to poor defense, injured players, and questionable rotations.

“I’m not happy with the way we’re playing,” Bam Adebayo said. “We got to get over this hump. We’re in a gray cloud that we can’t get out of. It’s my job as a leader and as a quote unquote vet to really hone in and really lead this team to a victory. Even though we have two major guys out, the next man up and I got do a better job of leading this team to victory.”

Miami has lost three of its last four games and currently owns a 2-3 record in Orlando. The Heat are slated to face the Pacers on Monday in a showdown likely featuring Jimmy Butler and T.J. Warren, with Butler telling the New York Times’ Marc Stein (Twitter link) that he’s on track to return from injury.

It’s unclear whether Goran Dragic (ankle) will be available for the contest, though he did practice on Sunday. Starting point guard Kendrick Nunn (personal) will miss the game after leaving the NBA’s campus and returning over the weekend.

Here are some more notes from the Southeast Division:

  • Multiple Heat members have been forced to deal with COVID-19 testing glitches, naturally causing some uneasy moments for the team, Barry Jackson details in a story for the Miami Herald.  According to ESPN, an inconclusive test generally happens in five out of every 1,000 tests. Any player who receives an inconclusive result must test negative in an immediate retest, then again within one hour of a game’s tip-off.
  • The Magic can apply for a Disabled Player Exception worth $3.78MM starting in October, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Orlando lost forward Jonathan Isaac for the season after he sustained a torn ACL and torn meniscus last week. The exception would allow the team to sign, acquire or claim a player on a one-year contract if Isaac is considered likely to miss all of next season.
  • Wizards guard Jerome Robinson has shown consistency at the NBA’s campus in Orlando, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Robinson was averaging 17 points in four games heading into the team’s contest against Oklahoma City on Sunday, where he exceeded his average by recording 19 points with six assists.

Heat Notes: Herro, Adebayo, Nunn, Waiters

Heat guard Tyler Herro has lofty goals for the future and is determined to improve on the defensive end of the floor, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. 

Herro, an accomplished offensive player who has averaged 12.9 points per game in his rookie season, believes it’s imperative to take the next step defensively in order to complete his quest of becoming an All-Star player.

“My thing is, I don’t want to just be a scorer. I plan on being an All Star one day and that’s what I’m set to work out to be,” Herro said. “I know it’s going to take a lot obviously and it’s going to happen on both ends of the floor. I’m allowing coach Spo’ and the rest of the staff to push me every day.”

Herro, 20, was the No. 13 pick of the 2019 NBA draft out of Kentucky. He’s worked closely with Heat assistants Chris Quinn and Anthony Carter this season, also receiving clips from his trainer in Wisconsin to help him become a better defensive player.

“He sends me clips of Avery Bradley, Patrick Beverley, guys that are on the ball and get into the ball when ball screens come,” Herro said. “There are a bunch of guys who are really good at what they do.

“I know it’s a long road and a long process. Defensively is the biggest area I need to improve in. My offense is fine as of now.”

There’s more out of Miami today:

  • Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn have yet to join the Heat in Orlando, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel relays (via Twitter). Both players remain away from the organization and haven’t reported for the league’s mandatory quarantine period. Miami’s first game falls on Saturday, August 1 against Denver.
  • The Heat may have to survive for the immediate future without Nunn and Adebayo, Winderman cautions. Whether the team’s shorthanded roster will be sustainable is unclear, with Nunn and Adebayo representing two-fifths of the starting lineup this season. There is no concrete timetable for their return.
  • Winderman ponders in a separate story whether Dion Waiters won his stand-off with the Heat from earlier in the season. Miami suspended Waiters multiple times for team violations and could’ve kept him on the roster if they wished, ultimately choosing to trade him to Memphis in February. Waiters signed with the Lakers after receiving his release from the Grizzlies and is currently gearing up for a deep playoff run.

Heat Notes: Herro, Adebayo, Small Forwards, Draft

Two weeks after Heat guard Kendrick Nunn made the case for why he – rather than Ja Morant – should be the Rookie of the Year frontrunner, teammate Tyler Herro said this week that he believes he was seriously in the mix for the award too before an ankle injury sidelined him for over a month.

“I definitely feel like if it wasn’t for that injury, I feel like I would be No. 1 or 2 in the Rookie of the Year race, so I’m ready to get out there and prove myself again,” Herro said, adding that he thought his rookie season went “pretty well” overall.

When Nunn promoted his own candidacy for Rookie of the Year, he pointed out that he has been a full-time starter on a top-four team in the East. Herro’s case would presumably be similar — he wasn’t a starter, but he was an important rotation piece for the 41-24 Heat, averaging 12.9 PPG in 27.2 minutes per contest (47 games).

Still, while Herro and especially Nunn have cases to be included on this season’s All-Rookie First Team, it seems safe to assume that Morant will run away with Rookie of the Year voting.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Asked during an Instagram Live interview about the possibility of being a “Heat lifer” like Udonis Haslem, Bam Adebayo expressed interest in following in the footsteps of his veteran teammate. “If I could, I would like to stay here like (Haslem),” Adebayo said, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “But you never know what happens in the future. Everybody just knew D-Wade was a lifer until he left because of situational reasons. You never know. But for me, I feel like I am. I feel like I would want to be a part of (one) organization like UD did just because I look up to UD.”
  • Even in the unlikely event that the Heat lose all of Derrick Jones, Jae Crowder, and Solomon Hill in free agency this offseason, the team should still have enough depth to get by at the small forward position, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, pointing to Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson, and Andre Iguodala as viable options at the three.
  • With the Heat projected to pick 23rd overall based on the NBA’s current standings, Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald identify some intriguing prospects who might be available in that range in the 2020 NBA draft.
  • On Wednesday, we passed along several comments made by Heat president Pat Riley, including his claim that the club is “close” to being a championship contender.

Heat Notes: Olynyk, Workouts, Herro, Nunn

A month ago at this time, Kelly Olynyk appeared to be facing a difficult offseason decision on his $13.2MM player option, says Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. However, given the uncertainty that the NBA’s hiatus has created for the salary cap going forward, Olynyk’s decision may be getting easier.

As Jackson writes, Olynyk’s player option is worth more than the mid-level, and only a small handful of teams project to have the cap room required to match or top $13.2MM. Most of those teams with cap space are in the process of rebuilding, which may not appeal to Olynyk — it’s unlikely that any would even be willing to spend big money on him anyway, since the market will be “saturated with players of similar quality,” Jackson observes. It all points to Olynyk likely opting in for at least one more year with the Heat, barring a trade.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Goran Dragic said on Tuesday that Heat coaches are overseeing video-conferencing workouts for Heat players for 90 minutes a day, tweets Jackson. Heat players complete the workouts – including weight-lifting exercises – from home and see their teammates on their screen going through the same drills.
  • In a mailbag, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel acknowledges that the NBA’s suspended season and lost revenue could have a ripple effect on the Heat’s 2020 and 2021 free agency plans. In addition to impacting presumed cap increases, this stoppage could result in more players opting for the financial security of longer-term contracts, Winderman suggests. That might limit Miami’s ability to re-sign veterans like Dragic to one-year deals to maintain cap flexibility for the summer of ’21.
  • Another Sun Sentinel mailbag explores the Heat’s point guard situation, with Winderman writing that he wouldn’t be surprised if Tyler Herro supplants Kendrick Nunn as the starter as soon as next season.