‘King Kong Ain’t Got Nothing On Me !’ | Miami Heat Guard Tyler Herro Says He Belongs In Conversation With Luka, Trae and Ja

Photo: @MiamiHeat/Twitter

Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro is demanding and taking his respect. The third-year guard, who averages 14.3 points per game for his career, says he’s on par with budding NBA superstars Luka Doncic, Trae Young and Ja Morant.

Most hoops fans recognize this as nothing more than an attempt to make himself relevant again after an average season in 2020-21. 

Saying he’s on par with today’s biggest stars that are 24 years old or younger is definitely a case of the crazies. 

“The young guys in the league who can be All-Stars, superstars one day …. Luka, Trae, Ja … I feel my name should be in that category, too,” Herro said. 

Confidence is important, but to say you believe you’re on par with guys who are franchise players is a bit much. Luka Doncic, 22, is already a superstar who’s singlehandedly pushed a much more talented Clippers team to six games in 2020 and then to the brink of elimination in 2021.

Trae Young just led the young Atlanta Hawks within two games of the NBA Finals.

Ja Morant led the Memphis Grizzlies to the eighth seed of the Western Conference playoffs by knocking off Steph Curry’s Golden State squad. Then Ja lost in five entertaining games against the No. 1 seed Utah Jazz in the opening round.

 

Herro isn’t even in the top four players on a Heat roster that has Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and now NBA champion and perennial All-Star Kyle Lowry. 

Victor Oladipo would be the fourth Heat player better than Herro if he was healthy. What Herro does best right now is catch and shoot off of others’ creativity, not his own. Luka, Trae and Ja don’t have the luxury of someone else constantly creating for them.

The rare ability to make others better and still get his when the situation calls for it is something Herro hasn’t shown us.

So Where Did This False Confidence Come From? 

Herro played lights out in the “NBA Bubble” and helped lead the Heat to the “Mickey Mouse Finals,” as they upset the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. The effectiveness of his play and the magnitude of the moment made him somewhat of a folk hero in Miami. Herro and teammate Duncan Robinson were the talk of the “Bubble.”

The fact that they were two white guys killing the game added to the mythical rise of these solid players. Some were calling Herro the next Larry Bird

The Bubble games were also played in empty arenas with no fans, so they weren’t a true test of how either would perform in the clutch under normal circumstances. 

When popular rapper Jack Harlow made a song entltled “Tyler Herro,” that was the icing on the cake.  Herro’s ego probably hit 100 and his popularity skyrocketed even more.

When young folks get caught up in the hype machine, it usually doesn’t end well.

Coming Back Down To Earth

During the 2020-21 season fans began to make their way back into the arenas. Herro played okay during the regular season (15.1 ppg) but struggled mightily in Miami’s lopsided first-round sweep at the hands of the Bucks. 

What came next was a plethora of offseason trade scenarios with Herro’s name attached as the headliner. Once the smoke cleared, the Heat decided to keep him and picked up the 2022-23 team option on the former Kentucky Wildcats sharpshooter. Basically the Heat decided that keeping Herro and Robinson was a better business move than pursuing James Harden. 

Team president Pat Riley had this to say about the budding 22-year-old.

“He’s a core player. That’s all there is to it … Tyler Herro is a core player for us. Maybe he had a sophomore jinx or whatever.”

Things had been quiet on the home front as it pertains to Herro since the Miami Heat decided to pick up his option in early September. It showed the faith that the franchise has in its young player. You’d think Herro would take the money and try to elevate his game. Instead, he’s out here making blasphemous comments. 

A good run in an empty gym doesn’t qualify you to be on the level of a go-to player who also has to endure being venomously harassed by fans for LA, New York, Philly, Golden State and Utah. When Herro comes to town he’s not the “villain” on which opposing fans or teams are going to focus their energy. 

When Herro becomes the focal point of the opposition, then perhaps we can say he’s elevated to the level of those aforementioned bonafide stars.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.