ASK IRA: Six weeks later, is it time to rethink the Heat’s Tyler Herro?

Q: Now that we see the Celtics have only lost twice, admittedly to injury-plagued teams, and have shut down Kyrie Irving in Games 1 and 2, is it time to admit that many of us were a little rash in our judgment of Tyler Herro? He played against the most elite perimeter defense without three vastly important offensive threats. It is definitely fair to say he isn’t a number one or that he is injury prone. But it is a rash decision to say he has to be a sixth man or can’t be part of a championship core. He does a lot of great things and I think actually fits better as a starter as his offense is more dimensional than Terry Rozier’s. He needs to hit the weight room, not the bench, which will help him on both sides of the ball. – Adam, Plantation.

A: Here’s the reality, we don’t know because we never truly got the opportunity to know whether in big games, games such as the late-season matchup against the Pacers, the two play-in games, or any of the playoff games, whether Tyler Herro-Terry Rozier works. And we still don’t know if the Heat offense works without the spacing of Duncan Robinson in the first five. So, as Erik Spoelstra might say, everything has to be on the table. When the Heat dealt for Rozier, the thought had to be that Herro-Rozier would work. Then Tyler went out with his foot issue for 20 games. Then Terry later was lost with his knee issue for the balance of the season. So I agree, this is not the time for rash decisions. But it’s not as if the offseason also will wait for such a read, which cannot come until next season. So, as usual, Tyler gets caught in the offseason vortex.

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Q: We reached for “positional fit” last time and missed out on Tyrese Maxey. Obviously Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley weren’t on the same page with that. Riley said one thing (pairing Precious Achiuwa with Bam Adebayo), Spoelstra did another (backup big). Turns out Spoelstra was right and The Godfather was wrong based on how Precious turned out. Zach Edey is big, but I don’t know if he’s good enough and he seems sluggish. I know Heat fans including myself feel we need to get bigger, but maybe there’s a world where Bam stays at the five and we still get a tall, skilled and athletic power forward or small forward to pair with Nikola Jovic. – Swann.

A: Having spent considerable time over the years discussing the selection process with Adam Simon, the Heat rarely (if perhaps ever) draft for any reason other than best available prospect. Heck, you could make a case that Jaime Jaquez Jr. hardly addressed a position of need last year. As it is, with so many injuries and absences this past season, every position was a position of need. As for Precious Achiuwa in 2020, I could see where that was perceived as a pick based on need, amid the reality of Tyler Herro coming off a rookie breakout playoffs and the sheer lack of time due to the pandemic-created quick turnaround. Unfortunately for the Heat, the timing was not great. But the reality also is that Precious looks like he will have an enduring career, which by itself is considerable value for a player selected at No. 20.

Q: It seems like fans who want to trade Jimmy Butler also believe that it’s going to bring back a haul of first-round picks. I just don’t see it. If you trade Butler, I see a two- to three-season rebuild which fans will complain throughout. – Tee, New York.

A: It will be interesting to see how the view on Jimmy Butler evolves through the offseason. Typically, when a team fails to reach a goal, the initial reaction is the demand for change. Then you see the limitations of change. I agree that sustaining the type of success seen in the past five years would be far less likely in the short term in the absence of Jimmy. Now, if the Heat could work a deal for Donovan Mitchell . . .