Heat news: Rookie Tyler Herro is a hero in his preseason debut
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Heat rookie Tyler Herro is a hero in his preseason debut

Tyler Herro, Heat

Rookie Tyler Herro turned heads in his preseason debut against the San Antonio Spurs, scoring a game-high 18 points coming off the bench and sparking the Miami Heat to a 107-89 win. The Kentucky product had impressed people with his shooting in pre-draft workouts, and showed just why during the Summer League, only to put a blended version of it during his preseason outing.

Herro was clearly ready for the challenge:

“Just come out with an open mind, learn as much as I can,” Herro said of his approach, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “It’s my first NBA game, preseason game, so just be ready to go whenever my name is called.”

The 19-year-old gave his team a spark with his aggressiveness and shotmaking ability, making his first five shots, including two triples. Herro also blocked Spurs shooting guard Bryn Forbes by pinning the ball against the backboard in the second quarter.

New Heat star Jimmy Butler was equally impressed with the rookie’s all-around performance:

“T is a player, man,” said Butler. “He’s going to be big for us, big for this city. They’re going to fall in love with him as they should because he grinds.”

Herro has an uncanny ability to make shots off the dribble, which should only bode well for his playing time this upcoming season. His basketball IQ, athleticism, and his defensive awareness are often underrated areas of his game, which he got to showcase on Tuesday, racking up a team-best plus-29 in a mere 24 minutes of run.

Butler knows opponents are going to become familiar with Herro real quick:

“Tyler is good. He can play. He’s sneaky, too,” Butler said. “Like he’s bouncy, he’s shifty. But I told him, right now it’s really easy because he’s going to catch everybody by surprise. He’s not on the scouting report. But he’s going to get on the scouting report really, really soon. That’s when he’s going to really start to shine because they know what to expect, but he’s still a player and he’s going to get to where he wants to get to.”

It seems Herro is playing himself not only into a rotation spot, but a crucial role for Erik Spoelstra’s team, one that will need plenty of help after sending out two of their best players in Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside this summer.