Stephen A. Smith implies Tyler Herro is the problem: ‘Why we always talking about somebody else coming on the Miami Heat?’'
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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith challenged Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro to bring the best version of himself on a nightly basis.

Smith shared some of his thoughts on Herro – who he believes is a good player – in a conversation with Heat legend Udonis Haslem.

“Tyler Herro can ball,” Smith said. “He can ball. So why we always talking about somebody else coming on the Miami Heat? What you gon’ do about that Tyler? What you gon’ do about it? Because you can ball. He ain’t no scrub. This brother got game. And when he brings his A game, how does Miami look?”

There’s no doubt that the Heat are at their best when Herro is scoring the ball at a high rate and doing it efficiently, but the former first-round pick struggled in the playoffs last season against the Boston Celtics.

Herro didn’t have Jimmy Butler in that series due to a knee injury, but he still shot just 38.5 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from 3, while averaging 16.8 points per game.

In his playoff career, Herro is shooting just 33.0 percent from 3-point range and 41.3 percent from the field across 46 games. Those percentages are way off from his regular season career averages of 44.0 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from deep.

“We wouldn’t be talking about what more Jimmy need to do, or what more the Miami Heat needed, if Tyler Herro brought his A game every night,” Smith said. “We wouldn’t be doing that. ‘Cause, this is not a brother that can’t play. This is a brother that can play. This is not a brother that can’t make a difference. This is a brother that can.”

A former Sixth Man of the Year, Herro has averaged over 20 points per game in three straight seasons for the Heat, but he averages just 14.3 points per game in the playoffs.

Smith challenged Herro to prove that he can make a difference on a nightly basis for Miami so he no longer has to hear criticism about his game.

“Knowing that you could make that difference, but that people have legitimate evidence to point to that shows that you didn’t do that on a continuous basis – I understand his sensitivity for it coming out of your mouth,” Smith said to Haslem. “I get that part. But what about the part, ‘O.G. on me. ‘Cause O.G. love me. ‘Cause O.G. want the best for me. And he want the best for the Heat. He don’t want me in another uniform. He don’t want me out of town. He want me here. I know this.’ What happened to that?”

Injuries plagued Herro in the 2023-24 season, as he was limited to just 42 games. He’s been subject to criticism for his play before, even from Haslem, who claimed that he may be better as a sixth man.

Hopefully, Herro can use these comments as motivation to improve his play ahead of the 2024-25 regular season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.