Tyler Herro gets left off controversial player rankings list

Herro was left off The Ringer's rankings of best players age 25 or younger. There are reasons to agree and disagree with that notion.
Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Three
Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Three / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

It was an up and down season for Miami Heat combo guard Tyler Herro. In his age 24 season and fifth year in the league, the expectations were high for Herro entering the 2023-2024 campaign. The Heat were coming off an NBA Finals run as an eight seed without the services of Herro. A broken hand suffered in game 1 of the first round against the Milwaukee Bucks kept him sidelined the rest of the way. 

Then the summer came, where he was once again in the thick of trade rumors. This time around, Herro was linked with Damian Lillard, after the All-NBA talent formally requested a trade to Miami (and Miami only). Being a former Sixth Man of the Year award winner and coming off another 20-point per game season, many viewed Herro as an asset that could get a deal done to bring in Lillard.

Instead, the Portland Trail Blazers didn’t seem to have much of an interest. Factor that with Pat Riley feeling good about running it back with a healthy Herro in the mix, he ended up surviving the rumors and staying in South Florida. To begin this year, there was a lot to be optimistic about with that decision. Herro was showing plenty of promise in that regard with early signs of development in his two-way game. Unfortunately, injuries plummeted his early growth and momentum, in which he ended up playing in just 42 out of the 82 regular season games. 

The Ringer released an article recently that showcased the “Best of the NBA’s next generation power rankings”, which included 25 of the best players at the age of 25 or younger. Herro was left off the list, and there are reasons for both sides of that declaration.

Why they are right 

The best argument for leaving Herro off this list comes down to, “The best ability is availability.” Herro was hit with injuries during each of the Heat’s 2022 and 2023 playoff runs, more so in 2023 where he couldn’t play at all. His regular season availability is even worse, as the young guard hasn’t played in more than 67 games during his career. 

In three out of his five seasons, Herro hasn’t played in more than 55 games. This season was his prove-it year following his absence in last year’s postseason and being dangled in trade rumors. But he responded by appearing in a career-low amount of games due to numerous different injuries. There were minor nagging ones that kept him out here and there, but it was the ankle and foot that was the culprit of sidelining him for extended time. 

The worst part of this is that even with Herro healthy, there has been a lot of inconsistency in performance. During this year’s play-in games and first round against the Boston Celtics, Herro played well in two out of the seven total games. His efficiency numbers in the regular season were solid, but ultimately not where they should be at just 44% from the field for his career. 

Why they are wrong

With the injuries and inconsistency considered, this is still a player who has shown a lot of talent. Herro is a gifted offensive player who can create for himself and others. His 2021-22 season in which he won Sixth Man of the Year was his best overall season, all things considered. And he showcased a lot of long-term potential in that role. 

During the 2021-2022 season, Herro put up 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists on 45% shooting and 40% from 3-point range. The following season, he led the entire league in free-throw shooting at 93.4%. It is far too early to say that Herro peaked during his sixth man campaign, considering he could have another dozen seasons to go in his career.

Herro is a guy that still has something to prove, but possesses a bunch of fundamental qualities, especially on offense. He has shown that he is never afraid of the big moment with several clutch performances under his belt. Who remembers the ‘mean mug’ rookie Herro during the bubble in 2020? There is a lot of poise in him both on and off the court. And If he can string together a fully healthy season or two, he could turn a lot of heads around the league with his abilities.