After award-winning season for Miami Heat, guard Tyler Herro focuses on “the next step”

After a heartbreaking loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat is looking at ways to make use of the players they have on the roster right now. And then they’ll gauge where they are if anyone else joins the club before training camp.

But one of the known commodities — as the Heat eye another Southeast Division title — is guard Tyler Herro, a player who comes off the bench, but routinely shows his offensive prowess.

Last season, Herro averaged 20 points, five rebounds and four assists. He also shot nearly 40 percent from the three-point line, en route to winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. But what’s next for the veteran? Has the time come to claim a starting role on one of the East’s elite teams?

“I’m trying to be a starter in this league and be an All-Star one day,” Herro said this month at an event for NBA2k23, in conjunction with Las Vegas Summer League. “So, that’s the next step.”

The defensive side of Herro’s game — criticized as lackluster in the past — appears to be the prime impediment to his goal. Herro was only able to average 0.7 steals, and 0.1 blocks last season.

“The next step for him, and I think we’re seeing this in the league: If you wanna win a championship and you wanna be a starter you really have to be a two-way player today,” Pat Riley, the team’s president, said during his end-of-season news conference. “He has quick feet. He needs to get stronger from a leverage standpoint.”

Another question is whether or not Herro will even sign a contract extension with the Heat or if Miami will trade him for a more valuable option. With the club still being mentioned in trade reports involving Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell and Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, Herro might be an important trade chip for the Heat. At just 22 years old, the 2019 first-round pick out of Kentucky will be a restricted free agent at the end of next season.

Ivo Caminata is a bilingual sports journalist at Florida International University. He hopes to be a sports play-by-play announcer to bring excitement to viewers during each game. He wants to present sports in a way that gets people from all cultures to develop the same passion he feels for sports. Caminata will graduate from the Lee Caplin School of Journalism & Media with a bachelor’s degree in digital and interactive media in 2024.