Herro with mature view on being an All-Star. And fractured thumb sidelines backup center
During this same week last year, when Heat guard Tyler Herro was snubbed for the All-Star Game, the disappointment was transparent.
A year later, Herro is in a new role (starting) and has a higher scoring average than a year ago, but there is no expectation of an All-Star invitation when reserves are announced on Thursday night on TNT.
Any disappointment this year, if he doesn’t make it?
“No disappointment,” he said this week. “I feel I like I’m an All-Star-caliber player. But there are a lot of good guards in the East. Got a lot of good players. I’m still young, still learning. I’ll be an All-Star at some point. So I’m not worried.”
Herro is 12th among all shooting guards — and sixth among Eastern Conference shooting guards — in scoring at 20.2 per game. His 5.8 rebounds per game put him second behind only Boston’s Jaylen Brown among two guards in the conference.
But he has missed 12 games, and it’s difficult to envision a team that’s sixth in its conference getting three All-Stars. Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler are considered the Heat’s most likely All-Stars; head coaches vote on the reserves.
“I think last year was probably a better opportunity for me to be an All-Star because of us being first in the East,” Herro said. “Some guys were injured last year. Bam is most deserving [and] Jimmy. We have two All-Stars on this team. My time will come.”
Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell, who’s averaging 27.6 per game, will start at shooting guard in the All Star and Brown (27.0) is the heavy favorite to be the second shooting guard picked in the conference.
Chicago’s Zach LaVine (23.7), Charlotte’s Terry Rozier (21.7) and Atlanta’s Dejounte Murray (21.2) are the only other Eastern Conference two guards averaging more points than Herro.
The Knicks’ R.J. Barrett is right behind Herro at 20.1 points per game.
Indiana point guard Tyrese Haliburton is expected to make the team as a point guard, behind Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving.
What might Herro need to do to become an All-Star?
“I have to be better than the other guards,” he said, smiling. “You could say I need to average 25, but then the other guards are averaging 28. I don’t know. I just got to be better than them.”
This will be a fun week for Herro: On Thursday against the Knicks (7:30 p.m., Bally Sports Sun), he will compete in Madison Square Garden against his friend Barrett, with whom he works out in the summer. Barrett went third and Herro 13th in the 2019 Draft.
“Me and R.J. have the same trainer,” Herro said. “We work together in the summer. The internet and media have tried to make me and R.J. not like each other. We like each other. No beef in the air. Two competitive players. We’ve been playing against each other since high school. We’re just competitive players. We both want the best for each other. We [compete] against each other all summer.”
Then on Friday, on the eve of the team’s game against the Bucks, Herro’s jersey will be retired by alma mater Whitnall High in Greenfield, Wisconsin, which is 17 miles from Milwaukee.
In his senior season there, he was named to the first team All-State after averaging 32.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 3.3 steals per game. Heat teammates and coaches are expected to attend the early evening ceremony, to be held before a Whitnall game.
“Really excited,” he said. “It’s something I always wanted to happen at some point in my career. For it to happen this early, feels good. I’ll have my teammates there. Most of my family will be there.”
Heading into the Feb. 9 trade deadline, Herro has as much security as anyone on the roster; cap rules make it essentially impossible for Miami to trade him even if it wanted to.
Herro, incidentally, said he never took issue with Miami likely including him in trade concepts for Kevin Durant last summer. Asked if he ever received clarity if the Heat was willing to trade him for Mitchell last summer, Herro said he was curious but never asked.
“I think I was in the KD talks more than anything, seeing if that would even open up, which I understand,” he said. “It’s Kevin Durant.”
It ultimately worked out for Herro, who signed a four-year, $130 million extension in September.
ORLANDO ROBINSON OUT
A fractured right thumb has sidelined backup center Orlando Robinson for what likely will be several weeks. The injury happened in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game against Cleveland, when an entry pass to him was slapped out of his hands by Cavs player Evan Mobley.
Robinson has played as the Heat’s backup center in the past 12 consecutive games and 22 of the Heat’s past 23 games.
He’s averaging 4.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 24 games and is eligible to play in 10 more NBA games under terms of his two-way contract. The Heat could move Robinson to a standard contract, but the thumb injury could delay or torpedo that.
According to Hashtag Basketball’s injury database, which dates back to 2010, the average time missed by NBA players who fracture their right thumb is 32 days, with 18 days the shortest return to action, per this report.
Robinson’s injury could create an opportunity for Dewayne Dedmon.
Dedmon -- who’s averaging 5.9 points and 3.7 rebounds in 29 games this season -- hasn’t played since the Heat suspended him for one game on Jan. 12 after he argued with coaches on the sideline and threw something on the court as he retreated to the locker room.
The Heat is hoping that backup center Omer Yurtseven can return to game action after the All Star break. He has been cleared for full contact practices but isn’t with the Heat on this four-game road trip.
The Heat listed guard Victor Oladipo as doubtful for Thursday with a sprained ankle. Gabe Vincent is questionable with ankle inflammation.
Duncan Robinson (finger surgery), Yurtseven and Nikola Jovic (back) remain out.
if Vincent plays and Oladipo doesn’t, the Heat will have 10 players available against the Knicks.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Caleb Martin’s 18 points (7 for 8) shooting and 10 rebounds were immense in Tuesday’s 100-97 win in Cleveland, and the Heat is now 7-2 when Martin scores 15 or more.
“He can score in a multitude of ways, offensive rebound, cutting, obviously hitting the trey ball,” Butler said. “When he’s like that, he makes us a lot better.”
Martin said: “When guys get me open, I’ve got to be ready to shoot it. I felt like I needed a game like that.”
▪ The Heat is now 5-4 against the top five teams in the East, including 2-0 against Milwaukee. Tuesday’s win “showed a lot of growth for us, how good we can be as a team when we come ready to play,” Martin said. “Even with a slow start, it showed we can still come out a W no matter who we’re playing.”
▪ With Cleveland down three, Mitchell said he expected the Heat to foul him before his missed three-pointer at the end of Tuesday’s game. “That’s why I went so fast,” he said. Miami opted not to foul.
“We feel like we should have won this game,” Mitchell said. “You saw a team [Miami] that has been there and a team that hasn’t been there as a group.”
Guard Darius Garland said the Heat was “changing defenses. Switching 1 through 5 is always tough. They were super physical.... [We must] play with speed so they can’t really grab and hold us.”