NBA TV analyst Caron Butler and his brand new hair seems to have stumbled on some old takes (Read this, his new hair is absurd). The oldest, in particular, is about Miami Heat newcomer, Tyler Herro. He says that Herro, after a very impressive Summer League, reminds him of two former Heat players.
Butler said, “He’s got a little bit of everything in him; I see a little bit of Jason Williams, I see a little bit of Rex Chapman, I see a little bit from an athletic standpoint, being explosive… Just being aggressive. His mentality, he’s extremely comfortable out there on that platform, on that stage knowing that everybody’s watching. And he’s having fun.”
Really, Caron? Rex Chapman and Jason Williams? Did you come up with that comparison all by yourself there, bud? I am all for the former Cats getting high praise in the NBA, but that take by Caron Butler is somehow more unoriginal than his hair.
Every white basketball player to come through Kentucky since the 90’s has been compared to Rex Chapman. John Hood even got the same comparison. Caron Butler is about 30 years late on this take. I believe the first headline written after Tyler Herro changed his commitment from Wisconsin to Kentucky was “The Next Rex Chapman Is Coming to Lexington.”
To be completely fair, Herro does play a lot like Chapman, more so than others that have been given the same praise, but it doesn’t sound like a lot of effort was put into that take. To me, Herro plays a lot like Jamal Murray, Devin Booker, or maybe even a young Paul Pierce. How hard would it have been for Butler to put a little bit of thought into that? Also, the Jason Williams comparison doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Yes, Herro made some sweet passes in the Summer League, but it’s a stretch to say the least. Herro’s game and White Chocolate’s don’t exactly match up.
Even though Chapman and Williams are relatively lazy names to throw out, that is still very good company to be grouped with. Herro is going to be a star in this league and it is only a matter of time before players are being compared to him and not the other way around.
The Miami Heat and Pat Riley knew they were getting an elite shooter when they drafted Tyler Herro with the 13th overall pick. To their pleasant surprise, Herro has proved in Summer League that he is much more than just a shooter. His ability to score from anywhere, pass and handle the ball is drawing praise from all over the NBA.
In his 6 games in the Summer League, Herro put up big numbers. Averaging 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 steals, he is looking like a future star for Miami. The Heat’s Summer League Coach Eric Glass told the Miami Herald that Herro “can give us whatever we need… If we need a guy that can handle, get us into offense, if we need him to be pick-and-roll, if we need him to come off catch-and-shoots, he’s shown he can do it all, and we feel comfortable in any of those spots.”
Glass went on to say, “from the day he came in, he proved that he could be a really good passer, so I put him in those roles. The thing that surprised me, I guess, is his feel. It looks like he’s a second- or third-year guy out here. That’s the thing that probably jumps out more than even the touch.”
Glass also loves Herro’s competitiveness and confidence. But not just Heat personnel seems pleased with their draft pick. NBA analysts have been showering the Kentucky guard in compliments since he began his Summer league play.
NBA TV’s Brendan Haywood commented, ““He can do more than shoot… There are other layers to his game. He looks like he will be a steal.” In respect to his game, Haywood also said that Herro “gets right to his point, understands what he has to do without using a lot of the shot clock.” Even delivering the scorching take, “He’s going to be a very impressive rookie in the league. He’s going to have a chance to be first-team All Rookie.”
Former GM of the Atlanta Hawks, Wes Wilcox, said “He’s one of my favorite players in the draft… I would have had him in the top 10. He plays with confidence.”
Even NBA living legend Vince Carter shared his opinion on Herro’s versatility at the guard position saying, “He has the ability to facilitate, so he will play both.”
Obviously, if Tyler Herro was not on teams radars before, he is now. The Heat and Pat Riley have made it clear that he will be with them for the forseeable future. Even fending off a trade with the Thunder for Russell Westbrook before he was dealt to the Rockets. Having exceeded every expectation for the Heat in Summer League, the chances of being first-team All Rookie and playing multiple crucial roles for a playoff contending squad are favorable.
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Tyler Herro has been absolutely scorching the NBA Summer League after being taken 13th overall by the Miami Heat. He is averaging 19.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.3 APG and 27.8 minutes leading the Heat to a 5-0 Summer League start.
Herro’s tireless scoring and defensive motor has made him a hot commodity. And now being one of the last lottery picks having yet to sign a contract has made him the target of potential trades. According to 247Sports’ The Cats Pause, Oklahoma City is expected to make a play for him. After Paul George left for the Clippers to team up with Kawhi, Russell Westbrook has once again been left alone in OKC. Russ may even be on his way out with the Heat as one of the leaders to land him via sign and trade deal.
WARNING: WOJ BOMB.
“A team like Miami who doesn’t have salary cap space, if they’re going to improve themselves, they’re going to have to do what they did at the beginning of free agency, a sign and trade. Miami’s a team that continues to try and add talent. They really wanted DeMarcus Cousins but I think the Heat are a team to watch,” Wojnarowski said. “Russell Westbrook at 30-years-old is still a high-level player but it is a lot of money and he’s going to take up a great part of your salary cap so it’ll be interesting to see how that market develops and where the pockets of interest are for him.”
Having wanted Tyler Herro since before the Draft, he will be included in any deal that sends Westbrook to Miami. Also, since he hasn’t signed a contract yet, he will not be subject to the 30 day waiting period.
If Herro does end up in Oklahoma City, this would give them 5 former Wildcats. They really are becoming the new Phoenix in terms of collecting Calipari’s finest.
Kentucky is getting exactly what they are paying for from John Calipari. Coach Cal had made it very clear that getting his players to the NBA is his top priority. And he is delivering. Every year he has been at Kentucky, he has had a player selected in the Lottery of the NBA Draft.
So far, Coach Cal has had three players drafted #1 overall and now a total of 21 players taken in the lottery, 29 in the first round and 38 overall. He has had more players taken in the top 14 than some conferences in the same amount of time. And it all started in 2010…
2010– John Wall (1st), Demarcus Cousins (4th), Patrick Patterson (14th)
2011– Enes Kanter (3rd), Brandon Knight (8th)
2012– Anthony Davis (1st), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2nd)
As we all know Big Blue Nation, we thankfully only have three players leaving to the draft this year. Sure, they are our best three players, but they are easily replaceable. Tyler Herro, PJ Washington, and Keldon Johnson are all great players with tremendous upside, and will all be drafted in the first round. However, the main issue isn’t whether or not they will get drafted, but will they get drafted by a good team. After all, they all will be drafted, but do we want them going to the Lakers to get traded by LeBron at a later date, or ending up on the Suns or some other organization where they have no future or hope? Hell no, we want them to go to the best fit. So, without further adieu, let’s see what team we need to be cheering for to draft our boys in blue…
1st Off the Board: SF Keldon Johnson Average Draft Board Range: 11th-16th Highest Projected Pick: 10th Lowest Projected Pick: 22nd
KJ has a rough night ahead of him. Being viewed as a top 5 wing can certainly help you in terms of a payday. However, that generally means that you are looking at being in the lottery, and that is sometimes a poor place to be. Sure, the bottom of the lottery teams are generally the ones that are most likely to jump into the 8th seed. Sure, it means that you are being drafted because the team needs you, not because you’re the best player in the class. However, it still is a place that is risky to be. After all, Minnesota, Charolette, and Miami are all drafting from 11-13, and those are all rough places to go. Minnesota sucks, Miami sucks, and Charolette suck. I have seen Keldon go to Atlanta at 10th, but I think that is a pipe dream. While I do think the Hawks need a defensive wing that can get buckets due to his athleticism, I don’t think KJ is good enough on the defensive end to warrant that high of a selection.
With all that out of the way, I really do think that KJ should not go in the lottery. Him slipping will benefit him greatly in the long run. Sure, he won’t make as much money, but he will be in a better place and fit for him. With that in mind, I have the best places for Keldon to go in 17-19 range. Which teams are those? Really good teams that need a wing: the Brooklyn Nets, the Indiana Pacers, and the San Antonio Spurs. The Nets are one of the emerging teams on the horizon in the NBA; they are young, in a great city, have a passionate fanbase, and have max salary slots available. Keldon would be behind a bonafide All-Star in (potentially) Kevin Durant, and could potentially benefit from his tutelage and the trainers in Brooklyn. The Pacers are not as well off as the Nets, but they already have two stars on their roster. KJ not having to shoulder a load besides bench scoring and starter defense while Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner sh*t on teams? The Pacers were the 5th team in the East WITHOUT OLADIPO THIS SEASON. Imagine how lucky Keldon would be to land on that team? Of course though, the luckiest spot would be if KJ could slip to the Spurs. Keldon in that farming system and being taught by the greatest coach of all time? I can’t see how that could possibly go wrong. He’d be set for life.
2nd Off the Board: PJ Washington Average Draft Board Range: 18th-27th Highest Projected Pick: 18th Lowest Projected Pick: 42nd
…pretty weird range right? A lot of people can’t seem to make up their mind about our boy that single-handedly carried the team. Generally, with non-“Blue Blood” programs, any player that leads his team in almost every category in the regular season, conference tournament, and March Madness is generally ranked highly on most boards. But, then again, we live in a world that hates the University of Kentucky.
Much like with how KJ has a weird scenario, PJ is experiencing the same thing. On one hand, he could go at 18th to the Indiana Pacers, a team that kind of needs to have a younger, more athletic PF on their roster going forward; on the other, he could slide to a title team like the Bucks or Warriors and learn underneath All-Stars. The following is every team drafting in the 18 to 30 range: – Indiana Pacers at 18 – San Antonio Spurs at 19 and 29 – Boston Celtics at 20 and 22 – Oklahoma City Thunder at 21 – Utah Jazz at 23 – Philadelphia 76ers at 24 – Portland TrailBlazers at 25 – Cleveland Cavaliers at 26 – Brooklyn Nets at 27 – Golden State Warriors at 28 – Milwaukee Bucks at 30 Can you see any team that wouldn’t benefit from having the defensive, athletic forward on their team? It would be beneficial for some of these teams to even get off older, more bloated contracts in order to gain PJ.
However, I do think that he should be praying that he doesn’t land on a few teams. While he could possibly be the starter for the Cavs and put up great stats, I do not know if that would benefit him in the long run. I’d also say that, until the Celtics figure out what is going on in their locker room, PJ should hope that he doesn’t land there either. The same could be said for the Thunder, since the amount of trade rumors surrounding the franchise has me questioning what they may or may not do for the future. The 76ers’ postseason aspirations and possible trades have me questioning what they will do as well, and I don’t think he playing with Ben Simmons will maximize his talent. The Bucks and Warriors would be bad since he would see almost no playing time. He would be behind an All-Star at either place, and he can’t stretch the floor enough in order to make it on the court with said All-Stars. In a bench role he’d surely shine, and he would be learning from two of the best defenders in the NBA currently.
In this range, any team is good for him. However, I would say the best possible places for him would be the Pacers, Spurs, Jazz, or Nets. The Pacers are a defense-orientated that are needing a younger option at power forward to play behind Thad Young, and that is who PJ should look to mirror in the beginning stages of his career. Much like the Pacers, the Spurs are defense first, but their farming system is absolutely impeccable. The young guard tandem of Murray and White will terrorize the league next year, and PJ being a part of that program would only benefit his stock in the long-run (see Jonathon Simmons). With the Nets options at power forward being the limited Jared Dudley or the severely handicapped Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, they could stand to gain heavily from PJ dropping to them.
The Utah Jazz, on the other hand, I see as the best place for PJ to land. With high postseason aspirations and a ton of cap to pursue a star point guard for their franchise, I could see him fit nicely into their plans. Sure, this pick may be traded to a team if the Jazz wish to trade for an All-Star guard under contract (looking at the Grizzlies and potentially the Raptors here), but he’d still work with the Jazz. The defensive potential of him and Gobert would be amazing, and they have other options on their roster to maximize their offense. PJ specialized at being a menace on the boards for put-back buckets, and him and Gobert could dominate the boards down low. A small-ball lineup of *insert point guard*-Mitchell-Ingles-Crowder-PJ could run the court with the best of teams, especially a (soon to be) depleted Warriors roster. It would give him the best possible place to develop his game while also giving him the chance to test his mettle in the playoffs.
3rd Off the Board: Tyler Herro Average Draft Board Range: 21st Highest Projected Pick: 21st Lowest Projected Pick: 21st
I’m not kidding when I say that I see Tyler Herro going to the Oklahoma City Thunder in every single mock. Candidly? That’s one of the best places for him to go. Sure, I’d love to see him go the Cavs so I can see the potential of a Sexton-Herro-Osman lineup going forward, but I see it unlikely he get’s past the Thunder. Afterall, OKC only had two players person shoot above the league average 35% from three all season, and it was Jerami Grant (45%) and Terrance Ferguson (38.9%). Otherwise, every player was below average, with the two All-Stars being the closest to the previously mentioned two (Russell Westbrook at 32.4%, and Paul George at 31.9%). Sure, Herro only shot from 35.5% from the college three point arc in his only season for the Wildcats, but his 93.5% stroke from the charity stripe indicates that his shooting will come around. Good free throw mechanics are essential to predicting the success of shooters in the league; it’s one of the best indicators on whether or not the shooting is an outlier or consistent. Herro’s potential as a shooter will get him on the Thunder, and I am certainly just as intrigued to see the fit. A small-ball Thunder lineup of Westbrook-Herro-Ferguson-George-Grant would be able to make it rain on almost every defense. Sure, Herro’s athleticism, or lack thereof, is a huge knock against his potential right now, but if he can model how Kyle Korver gets buckets then he should have a long and fruitful career in the NBA.