Heat guard Tyler Herro played like a star as a rookie in the 2020 playoffs.
This season, he has regressed… while continuing to embrace his celebrity status.
Ethan Skolnick on the “Inside the Paint” podcast:
Everybody is entitled to their own personal life, and we don’t try to bring it up. And, look, the greatest player in Miami Heat history, there was a lot of stuff that we knew about that we didn’t talk about. It’s just the way that this played out. And he grew through some things. And we all know who we’re both talking about. But ultimately, the team starts to get a certain level of concern. In this particular case, the team has been concerned now for months. And that’s kind of where it’s at. But they were concerned with players during the big-three era. But this one is different, because this kid is 21.
It’s telling that the Heat were also concerned about similar issues when they were winning big with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Though it’d be ideal to get players who care about only basketball, this seems like a good tradeoff: Get players good enough to garner major-celebrity status, try to manage the potential distractions and hope for the best. It sure beats trying to win with players who aren’t talented enough to draw significant attention.
The problem: Herro isn’t playing anywhere near like a star.
There could be several reasons unrelated to his focus level: He has been hurt. He’s shooting just 33% on 3-pointers, and that’s a stat prone to fluctuation.
Expectations also grew way too high after his bubble run. That was a small sample with a unique shooting background. While it was possible Herro would pick up where he left off, assumptions he’d be an All-Star – or even good starter – this season were unfair.
But Herro has embraced his fame. The Heat should be concerned about that – though not necessarily panic about it. Succeeding in the NBA requires massive commitment and leaves little room for outside interests.
Miami teammate Jimmy Butler could help guide Herro. Some Bulls once felt Butler enjoyed the trappings of stardom too much. But Butler maintained his elite work ethic. That’s why he’s such a good player. And he still finds room to bask in attention.
It’s possible for Herro to have it all. But right now, he’s just not playing well enough.
The Heat should be concerned about every possible reason for Herro’s sophomore slump.
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