LeBron James may be entering his twilight years (we’ve yet to see evidence of it, but we all know Father Time is undefeated), but NBA fans have no reason to fear -- the league is in good hands.
The reigning MVP is only 25. Giannis Antetokounmpo might have 10 elite years left in the tank. Don’t forget about Luka Doncic, either. The Slovenian sensation, age 21, is clearly a superstar.
And as for the rookies? Man, there are some first-year players who have already shown they’re on their way to elite status. Everyone knows about former AAU teammates Ja Morant and Zion Williamson, and they will likely go down as the two standouts from the class, but a number of other rookies have also wowed fans this season. The Miami Heat have two of them: Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro.
With the upstart Heat in the thick of the East playoff race -- they’re currently in the No. 4 seed, nestled between Boston and Indiana -- you’re sure to hear more about these guys when the NBA finally returns in the bubble.
Herro has been in the news over the league’s hiatus, with fans drawn to his eccentric style, so we thought we’d provide some background on the 2019 No. 13 overall pick. Here is everything you need to know about Tyler Herro.
He Got Buckets in Wisconsin in High School
As is usually the case with top NBA picks, Herro was the man in high school. He racked up over 2,000 points at Whitnall High School (Milwaukee).
As a senior, he scored 40 or more points eight times. He averaged 32.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 3.6 APG, and 3.3 SPG. Perhaps more impressively, he shot nearly 44% from downtown. His home state school wanted him badly.
He Was Nearly a Badger
Herro’s year in college could’ve looked a lot different if he had stuck to his original plan. Herro came close to staying home for college and committed to the University of Wisconsin as a junior in September 2016.
But he had a change of heart -- Coach Cal won him over! -- and committed to the University of Kentucky in November 2017.
Arizona, Florida, and Villanova were also in the mix. It’s hard to resist that Cal allure, though.
He Surpassed Expectations at Kentucky
The 6’5” guard was a 4-star recruit and No. 36 overall in the Rivals rankings. That’s impressive, of course, but nothing special by Kentucky standards. Top-5 players grace Lexington every year.
Nonetheless, Herro stood out as the key guy on his 2018-19 Wildcats squad. He was the only player to start all 37 games and averaged 14.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 2.5 APG. He was named SEC Rookie of the Year by the AP and to the NCAA Tournament All-Midwest Region Team.
Though he wasn’t initially viewed as a one-and-done type prospect when he entered college, Herro declared for the draft as a consensus first-round prospect in April 2019.
His Jumper Already Has His Peers’ Respect
Every year after the NBA draft, the league surveys the rookies to get a feel for their perceptions of their peers. For example, they ask, “Who will win Rookie of the Year?” (Unsurprisingly, Zion and Morant received nearly all of the votes last year.)
The league also asks, “Who’s the best shooter?” Herro took the prize, receiving 33% of the vote. He showed his game quickly upon arrival, averaging 19 PPG in Summer League.
He Already Has an Incredible Nickname
You know you’re doing well as a rookie when your teammates give you a nickname and it’s actually flattering. Herro’s Heat comrades call him -- as well as Nunn and fellow rookie Chris Silva -- “Baby GOAT.”
The Heat have started selling Baby GOAT shirts. You’ve got to feel good about this franchise’s future.
His Rookie Season Has Been Up and Down
There’s no question Herro is a star in the making, but he has had some trials this season. He suffered a sore right ankle that kept him out for 15 games, returning right before the shutdown. And he struggled before the injury, too, seeing his scoring drop off significantly.
Before the All-Star break, he was crushing it. He was even in the Rookie of the Year mix. Then things slowed down significantly. But he says now he’s 100%, and he’s learned from the difficulties of both the injury and shutdown.
“I definitely feel like I grew up a little bit more, just as far as knowing the game more, learning more,” Herro said. “I was able to sit back and really just watch everybody and learn. I watched a lot of film, learned from the coaches and the vets. Like I said, just really watched that. I took a lot from it.” Just wins and lessons, young man.
He’s Been Studying The NBA’s Best Shooters
Herro is already dangerous from deep. He’s hitting 39.1% of his 3-point attempts. But he knows he has room to improve.
He wants to go down as one of the greats, so he’s been studying the form of the best to ever shoot the orange -- including Klay Thompson and Ray Allen. He’s been pouring over film during his extended break.
“I’ve watched the same guys,” Herro said. “Klay Thompson, Ray Allen, CJ McCollum, Steve Nash and Bradley Beal are the guys that I’ve watched, just picking different things from each player.
“You know, Klay and Ray, they do the catch-and-shoot very well. So that’s the thing that I pay attention to when I’m watching them. But every player that I watch, or the coaches have me watch, I can dissect something new or something different from their game to try to add it to mine.”
Heat fans certainly know all about Jesus Shuttlesworth’s J.
He Got Some Unusual Chest Ink Over the Hiatus
The 20-year-old made the rare decision over the break to get red ink, but he pulls it off. On opposing sides of his chest are the phrases “No Work” and “No Check.”
It’s a simple message, of course, but a good reminder to get after it in the gym -- and fire look.
He's Dating a Model
Young NBA star, bold style, growing following. Tyler Herro's popularity is skyrocketing all over, including in his personal life.
Katya Elise Henry has 7.5 million followers and revealed the relationship on social media, which naturally sent the masses into a frenzy.
His Social Media Game Already Has Brands’ Attention
These days, athletes are finding new ways to capitalize on their influence. Rookies practically grew up on social media, flexing on IG since middle school.
Herro is clearly proficient on the Gram (he’s approaching 1 million followers), and brands have taken notice of his growing platform. For example, he recently partnered with Old Spice for some classic #sponcon.
Expect to hear plenty more about Herro in the bubble and the years to come. This kid has star power both on and off the court.
His Hairstyles Get People Talking
Herro goes for it in the barbershop, too. Over quarantine, he made the confident call to get braids. Onions!
Herro Shows Off for the NBA Tunnel Walk
This generation of new NBA stars came up watching Dwyane Wade wear capris and Russell Westbrook sport the most eclectic attire imaginable. The youngbloods enter the league excited to flash their own stylistic flourish.
Herro has hit the league with a number of bold, cold, and unexpected looks. He’s curated a distinct aesthetic. Clearly the man appreciates style.