Casual NBA fans think of Jimmy Butler when they think of the Miami Heat. He can be great, but most of the time he’s just really good, and that’s gotten him national TV commercials like the Michelob Ultra commercial singing Hootie & the Blowfish on a plane. As much as I would like to offend Darius Rucker as a youngster, I think “Michelob Ultra” and “Dated 90s Band” emit the desired unsexy vibe that I’m trying to convey.
okay okay Butler can be most of time Great.
This Miami team is the Anti-Heatles. They’re No. 1 in the East, a few years from reaching the bubble finals, and their final game against Atlanta was shown on NBA TV. The most notable regular-season award earned by a member was Tyler Herro, who just won sixth man of the year.
Jack Harlow wrote a song about him, though He fiddles with camera knobs in playoff games and stars in needless remakes of classic films, so clearly that he’s reaching for the remnants of his 15-minute rap fame and harboring hopes that Sportscenter will use another of his songs for his Top 10 segment. Herro deserves a celebrity friend worthy of his rising fame in the league. I don’t know who this is because I’m not up to speed on hip hop and Vince Staples is a Clippers fan.
I saw Herro in person last month and what struck me is how effortlessly he takes high difficulty shots. He’s not Kyle Korver or JJ Redick running off screens in spot-up threes, it’s off-the-dribble threes, floaters and midrange fallaways, in addition to a little pick-and-roll.
He scored 25 points in Miami’s Game 1 win over Philly, showing his reach in every context of the word.
After 32 minutes of a game off the bench, he gets starter minutes. But like Gregg Popovich did with Manu Ginobli, Erik Spoelstra brings Herro into play after a few minutes with crisp sentences and good looks and increases the pressure. At their peak, the late Tim Duncan Spurs teams rivaling and eventually defeating the Heatles were a relentless attacking force that overwhelmed teams over the course of 48 minutes.
This Miami team is light-years behind the San Antonio teams offensively, but the commitments of Herro and Ginobli are similar. And when the Kentucky product all works, like Manu on a heater with the Spurs, they’re really damn hard to beat.
During Herros three years with The Heat is his team 39-16 if he scores more than 20 points. If he doesn’t, they’re 65-48, according to StatMuse. That’s a win percentage of over .700 compared to a win percentage of 0.575. He’s averaging 26 points a night in those 20-plus-point games and just 12 in the non-20-point performances.
That 14-point variance is almost as alarming as the 3-point percentage, which jumps from 48 percent when he feels it to 32 percent when he doesn’t feel it. That might have something to do with the difficult shots mentioned above, but again, these aren’t the Spurs of 2014, they need a bail-out 3 rather than a wide-open look from the corner.
During the game I attended, a late-season duel against the Struggling Bulls, Herro played the role of Cigar of Victory. Remember when Derrick Henry was a backup for those loaded Alabama teams and he came on late in the game to run over tired opponents and build up the score? That’s what Herro reminded me that night: an obscene luxury that turns a close match into a blowout.
I don’t think Jack Harlow’s BFF is the NBA version of King Henry, but I think opponents feel just as helpless when it happens in real time.
“Really? We’re getting dry fucked by Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry across the floor and now Boy Wonder is gonna do a White Mamba impression? Fuck my life.”
Give Herro some more time to build his consistency and become a proper celebrity endorser, and maybe next time you’ll see a member of the Heat in a national TV commercial for a product with more brand recognition than the official beer of middle-aged mountain bikers .