Sophomore Slump: What went wrong for Tyler Herro in the 2020-21 NBA season?

On the floor, 2021 did not go as Tyler Herro planned
On the floor, 2021 did not go as Tyler Herro planned

Tyler Herro's introduction to the NBA shot out of a rocket. As a rookie in the NBA bubble that Covid 19 made, Tyler Herro, the 6'5" shooting guard out of Kentucky, was a big contributor to the Miami Heat's surprising ascension to the NBA Finals. Picked 13th overall, the youngest player ever to score at least 30 off the bench --Tyler Herro had 37 vs. Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals, and was looking like a star to track. After so much early success, it's understandable if a sophomore slump happens, and with Tyler Herro, that's exactly what happened.

Tyler Herro was a bubble surprise

Tyler Herro had every bit of confidence in the playoffs. He showcased himself as a star to become when he averaged 16.3 points per and 3.7 assists on 45.2% shooting. He also shot a very good 37.6% from the arc. Tyler Herro looked faster than the opposition at times, and big things were expected of him before the start of the season. It was the way he played that turned heads. No matter if he was slashing to the basket or hitting nothing but net from the outside, the swag was ridiculous. Tyler Herro looked like a wunderkind everyone would speak of entering the season.


Just as the success came, the 2021 playoff numbers fell. Averages of 7.7 points, 1.7 assists on 28% shooting and 33.3% from deep are a huge difference from the season of last, and looking at the numbers, one might think Tyler Herro had an injury. He didn't. The spark he was in 2020 didn't materialize in the playoffs and the Heat were punched in the mouth by the eventual champion Bucks. Milwaukee swept the defending Eastern Conference champions in the 1st round.

Ira Winderman:

Tyler Herro chose to become a celebrity,” “He chose to become something outside the game, as is his right. With his breakfast cereal, and his Tyler Tuesdays, and his Chipotle Bowl and that’s all well and good. But you know what? Other players when they see a player doing that before they’ve truly reached it. I don’t know if I want to say there’s a jealousy. … They sort of take a scant view of the guy and say, ‘Wait a minute buddy. You haven’t done anything yet."

Ethan Skolnick:

“Ultimately, the team starts to get a certain level of concern,” “In this particular case, the team has been concerned now for months.”


Many have stated that Tyler Herro grew too much into his celebrity status and lost focus in the game of basketball. I don't think he was doing anything any other pro athlete would do after such a rookie campaign, yet the drop off in execution and flair just wasn't there for Tyler Herro.

The Getback

Tyler Herro's name was mentioned in many trade proposals, and what that does to a young player mentally in the NBA, only Herro knows. His skills are excellent, and that he had early success should incentivize Tyler Herro to show last season was an anomoly. Kendrick Nunn, who outplayed Tyler Herro, was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Is he capable of getting it all back?


The Miami Heat exercised Tyler Herro's 4th year option and will make 5.7 million next season. He should have a more firm grasp of the NBA and how players pace themselves during the offseason as they mature as men. The addition of Kyle Lowry in Miami should help in the development of Tyler Herro as Lowry shows that North Philly grit in practices and in huddles.

I ask again: was last season an anamoly?

The NBA hopes so.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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