Throughout this past offseason, Tyler Herro’s name was heavily involved in trade rumors.

The Miami Heat, fresh off their second NBA Finals appearance in four seasons, were searching for a third star to join Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo and Herro was often floated as their primary trade asset. Seven-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard was Miami’s most prominent target in these talks, but the Portland Trail Blazers decided to send him to the Milwaukee Bucks, whose package was unquestionably superior, instead.

The Heat will now be heading into the ‘23-’24 season sans the new star that they sought and without three crucial role players–Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Cody Zeller–who all played key roles during last year’s surprise NBA Finals.

This leaves Miami’s rotation quite bare, yet also presents the 23-year-old Herro with a prime opportunity to prove his worth. The 2022 NBA Sixth Man of the Year is already coming off back-to-back seasons where he averaged 20 points per game and will have every chance to bump up this number in the coming season.

The Heat struggled to create shots during the NBA Finals as Herro sat out with a hand injury and this weakness led to their pursuit of Lillard over the summer. Herro’s skillset could fill this need for Miami and if he can perform with more consistency, they should have no problem establishing themselves as Eastern Conference contenders once again.

If Herro is to take this leap, it will likely be due to improved efficiency from the field. Over the first four years of his career, Herro has made only 43.9% of his field goal attempts and improved shot selection could easily help him take this number above the 45% level.

Another aspect where Herro can improve on is his free throw attempts. The 6’5 guard led the entire league in free throw percentage last year at 93.4%. However, he has not been able to maximize his prowess as he only attempted 2.7 free throws per game. He must be more aggressive in attacking the basket this year which should help him gain more free throws attempts.

These improvements could potentially push Herro’s scoring average closer to 25 points per game and, in turn, put him in the mix for an NBA All-Star berth. Miami may have missed out on adding an NBA All-Star during the offseason, but they may still manage to add one this season if Herro can successfully blossom into one by this February.

The stage is set for Herro to take a step forward this season and it will not come as a surprise if losing out on Lillard turns out to be a blessing in disguise for the Heat down the road. Herro’s moment has arrived and the world will be watching him this season as he puts on his cape as the Heat’s star of the future.