He’s supposed to be a rookie.
At all of 20 years old, Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro was supposed to spend his inaugural season playing limited minutes while adjusting to the rigors of NBA life. But instead of being a mere contributor, the Kentucky product has evolved into a centerpiece under Erik Spoelstra’s tutelage—just in time to unleash unbridled carnage on the Boston Celtics during the Eastern Conference Finals.
On Wednesday night, the baby-faced assassin dropped a Heat rookie-record 37 points off the bench in a sometimes ugly, sometimes thrilling 112-109 victory over the Celtics. And with one more win, the Heat will lay claim to their first NBA Finals berth since LeBron chucked the deuce and bounced for Cleveland.
But I don’t think y’all really understand what kind of damage the All-Rookie second-teamer is doing. His 37-point outburst is the second-most points in a playoff game ever for a player under 21 years old (first is Magic Johnson, who put up 42 points back in 1980) and he’s not only knocking down shots, but he’s also second on the team in boards and first in assists during the series.
Simply put, this white boy is putting in work.
Did I mention he’s doing this against the team with the best defense in the league this postseason? Herro’s confidence was already legendary before he ever even stepped foot in the NBA, and for what he lacks in physique, he more than makes up for with his relentless work ethic, adept ball handling, and unwavering belief in his ability to destroy his opponents.
“He has a lot of confidence and in this league, confidence is something that isn’t factored in a lot of times,” Iguodala told Sports Illustrated. “You can’t analyze guys’ confidence. It won’t show up anywhere on the stat sheet. You can’t calculate it.”
Hell, the dude is playing so damn good that he’s not only rendered fellow rookie Kendrick Nunn, who was a finalist for NBA Rookie of the Year, completely obsolete, but he’s looking like he could be an All-Star caliber player as soon as next season.
“He has a great competitive humility about him,” Spoelstra told reporters after Game 4. “He has a confidence. He has a fearlessness that is uncommon. But he’s humble enough to work, to be coachable, to take the mentorship from the veteran players that we have on our team, and he just continues to gain more confidence as we go.”
The Celtics are in deep shit in they can’t figure out a way to contain the Milwaukee, Wis., native, and should the Heat make it to the Finals, he could be the key ingredient to the Heat’s first title since 2013.