Report: Miami Heat could start Tyler Herro or Josh Richardson as primary ball-handler

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Unless the Miami Heat acquire Damian Lillard sometime soon, questions about the team’s backcourt situation are going to persist, and one person familiar with the Heat’s thinking believes that Tyler Herro or Josh Richardson could start as a “primary ball-handler” if Lillard isn’t in the mix.

“Kyle Lowry is the only natural point guard on the Heat’s roster, but a person familiar with the team’s thinking said he won’t be surprised if the Heat opts for Tyler Herro or even Josh Richardson as a starting primary ball handler if it’s unable to acquire Lillard before the season opener,” wrote Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

“Lowry could continue to come off the bench in that scenario.”

Lowry had some success playing off the bench last season.

In 44 regular season games as a starter, he averaged 12.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 39.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from deep.

In 11 regular season games as a reserve, his per-game averages dropped (as one may expect), but he became significantly more efficient, shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from deep.

Moreover, across 23 playoff games (22 of which were bench appearances), he remained notably more efficient than he was as a starter in the regular season, shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from deep.

Herro obviously has starting experience, and Richardson was a starter earlier in his career, including during his first stint with the Heat.

Of course, the ideal scenario for the Heat is to finally complete a deal for Lillard, who would solve a lot of their backcourt concerns. The veteran averaged 32.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game last season while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.

The idea of a Lillard-Jimmy Butler-Bam Adebayo trio is one that rival teams have reportedly expressed concerns about, and it’s hard to blame them considering the amount of talent a Big 3 like that would possess.

With training camp getting closer, the Heat and Blazers may start to put the pedal to the metal in trade talks soon, opening the door for Lillard to be in South Florida before the season begins. But that’s no guarantee, so it’s unsurprising that the Heat may be coming up with contingency plans for their backcourt behind the scenes.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and has plenty of memories involving the Miami Heat. He expects there will be winning basketball in South Florida for years to come.