Tyler Herro turned into one of the NBA’s biggest stars as a rookie in 2019-20. He helped guide the Miami Heat to an NBA Finals appearance in the NBA bubble and rapidly established himself as a youngster to watch.
Beautiful Instagram models, strange tattoos and crazy love triangles ensued. He quickly became a viral sensation. Herro looked so good in that first year, in fact, that Miami refused to trade him for James Harden when the Houston Rockets inquired about that potential deal.
Then came Year 2.
After putting up 15.0 points on 43.9 percent shooting from the field and 36.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc as a rookie, Herro earned a starting nod early this past season. Miami subsequently went 5-9 in its first 14 games with Herro in the starting lineup, leading to his demotion to the bench. Things only got worse from there. After averaging 16.0 points per game in the Heat’s run to the Finals, Herro ended up averaging a mere 9.3 points on 31.6 percent shooting in this season’s playoffs.
Despite Herro's struggles last season, earlier this week the Heat exercised the $5.7 million fourth-year option on his rookie contract for 2022-23.
Shortly thereafter, team president Pat Riley confirmed what everyone suspected was Herro’s problem – he suffered from the sophomore jinx in 2020-21. Too much pressure coupled with an overdose of media scrutiny and mixed with a lack of preparation led to an underwhelming second-year showing.
Despite that, Riley still has full confidence in the youngster going forward.
“He’s a core player,” Riley said, via Manny Navarro of The Athletic. “That’s all there is to it. . . . Tyler Herro is a core player for us. Maybe he had a sophomore jinx or whatever.”
Riley certainly isn’t the first person to suggest that Herro’s sophomore showing was less than stellar. Heat star Bam Adebayo did the same recently – further insinuating that the youngster also needed to mature in order to take the next step professionally.
Next season will be a big one for Herro. Either he’ll come out strong and prove that last year was a fluke, or he’ll confirm everyone’s worst fears about him – that he was a one-season wonder that immediately got figured out. Which one will it ultimately be? Time will tell.