Unlike his star player, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra doesn’t make bold proclamations often. But on Monday night, he took a question about Tyler Herro and turned it into a chance to make a prediction.
“I think he’s poised for a big jump this year,” Spoelstra said.
This comment came after Herro scored 17 points and made five of seven 3-pointers in the first quarter of the Heat’s annual Red, White & Pink Game, an intrasquad scrimmage to benefit cancer research. Herro’s night included a moonshot from about 35 feet that set the tone early.
But Spoelstra’s bullish comment wasn’t based on Herro’s shooting display in a no-pressure scrimmage, but rather what he’s seen from the fifth-year guard behind the scenes at training camp last week.
“This was him just launching open 30-footers,” Spoelstra said. “What he did in camp was much more impressive. He literally did everything in camp.”
Herro spent most of his summer working out away from the team while being involved in Damian Lillard trade speculation. When the Heat failed to complete a trade for Lillard, it became clear that Herro would be returning to the Heat for another season. At 23, he has won a Sixth Man of the Year award and averaged 20 points over the last two seasons.
He aims to increase his efficiency this season by making more 3s, getting to the rim, and drawing fouls more frequently. The Heat also need him to continue to improve defensively and build his pick-and-roll chemistry with Bam Adebayo.
“If you take somebody with his work ethic that’s so determined during the offseason and that just carries over during the year,” Spoelstra said, “you’re going to see a player that continues to improve.”
The Heat hope Spoelstra is right and Herro makes that “big jump” this season, because they’ll need it to fulfill Jimmy Butler’s media day prediction and return to the NBA Finals.