Via Heatnation.com

Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro is certainly backing up previous claims noting he should be in the same conversation as NBA All-Stars Luka Doncic, Trae Young and Ja Morant.

The 22-year-old had a great rookie season, helping the Heat reach the NBA finals in 2020 and impressing throughout the playoffs that year. His second season was disappointing, however. And, heading into the third, he made a bold statement that raised eyebrows.

“I feel like I’m in the same conversion as those guys,” he said prior to the start of the current term. “The young guys coming up in the league who can be All-Stars, superstars one day—Luka, Trae, Ja—those guys like that, I feel like my name should be in that category, too.

“I put the work in, and I’m just continuing to get better every single day. I’ve got a lot of goals in mind to be an All-Star one day and continue to chase my dream, so I’m really excited to see where I can go.”

His comments drew ire from around the league and media personalities such as Charles Barkley had a go at him as a result. Herro is living up to it, though, and he’s looking like a nailed-on cert for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Barkley has since praised Herro’s play this season and said he believes the guard was the most glaring All-Star snub this year.

Herro dropped 21 points along with seven rebounds to lead Miami to a 99-82 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night and his influence has helped them win three out of four from a tough stretch that saw them face the Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets and the aforementioned 76ers.

“Just playing hard, playing free, playing with my teammates,” he said after Saturday’s win. “My coaches and my teammates, they trust me with the ball so just being able to play free and make plays, it’s been fun.”

The 2020 NBA All-Rookie Second Team entrant has been on quite the roll since the All-Star break and has been the NBA’s most consistent player off the bench all season, averaging 20.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. He remains the betting favorite to be named Sixth Man of the Year with 17 games left to play in the regular season.

Herro leads the Heat in 20-plus point games this campaign, with 30, and only Jimmy Butler has scored more 30-plus point games so far, with Herro posting five and the six-time All-Star registering seven.

According to NBA Stats, Herro is averaging 8.9 shots per game with the closest marker within four feet, and his penchant for scoring in tight spaces from the mid-range will be important for the Heat during the playoffs. Again, only Butler has done better for Miami this season with an average of 10.1.

Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

“I think people know I’m a shooter. I shoot the ball well,” Herro said.

“But I think my best thing is off the dribble, getting in the paint, attacking, getting to the midrange, getting to the rim. I think that’s what I do best. I think I’m hard to stay in front of when you’re playing the shot and then my handle gets me to where I want to go.”

The likely Sixth Man of the Year would probably be a starter on most other teams in the NBA but Erik Spoelstra has tasked him with leading the second unit and he’s always called upon to close games out in the fourth quarter.

During a season in which the Heat have been ravaged by injuries, Herro has helped them snag the top spot in the Eastern Conference – they’ve won 11 of their last 13 games and will look to retain top spot in the East as the playoffs approach.