Welcome to Hot Or Not, our weekly column where we take a look at some players on the Miami Heat whose stock is rising or falling. This week, we’re taking stock of Tyler Herro, Thomas Bryant and Haywood Highsmith.
Hot: Tyler Herro's more well-rounded game ⬆️
Tyler Herro has scored 35, 30, 24 and 22 points over his last four games. He's shot 50% or better in four of seven games, was an assist away from recording a triple-double in last week's win over the Wizards and has surpassed last season's assist average (4.2) four times. If these stats hold, he will post career-highs in points (25.3), rebounds (5.6), assists (5.0) and steals (1.4).
We'll have plenty of time to explore Herro's scoring this season, but I want to focus on those last two categories here. Herro is making better passes and finding ways to make an impact on defense better than ever.
Herro is showing more patience as a playmaker. Here, he draws the double team and contorts so he can deliver a bounce pass to the rolling Thomas Bryant. He's not rushed despite the swarm of multiple defenders.
Here's another one from last week against the Nets. Herro dribbles over a Bryant screen and Duncan Robinson flares to the left wing. Most of the action is jumbled in this area. If Herro passes to Robinson, the closeout is too easy. A pass over the top to Bryant is possible but difficult. Herro jumps to make the pass that looks, at first, to be to Bryant. He uses his eyes to move Brooklyn's Royce O'Neal a step into the paint and then tosses the ball to Josh Richardson in the corner for a wide-open 3.
On the other side of the ball, Herro has found his voice defensively. He knows because of his size he'll never be a strong defender, but he tends to be in the right spots and works hard. This season, he's decided to make a difference by jumping passing lanes. The court vision and anticipation that has helped him improve as a passer translates.
As soon as the ball comes loose, Herro knows exactly where Anthony Gill is going to go with the pass. Herro starts his break before Gill has even secured the ball.
Herro will always be a target for opposing pick-and-rolls. Against the Lakers Monday, he got two steals after being dragged into a LeBron James-Austin Reaves action. This one was the most impressive. Herro gets physical with LeBron to stay in the passing lane, Reaves mistakingly tries to pass to a spot and Herro gets the steal and score (after the LeBron goal tend).
These are the things Herro needs to do to become more than just a scorer. These are the things of All-Star caliber guards. When Erik Spoelstra talks about "winning plays," this is what he means.