In October, Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro made a bold claim by declaring that he's an NBA superstar. Many laughed at his confident statement, while others thought he was bizarre for comparing himself to Luka Doncic, Trae Young, and Ja Morant.
Well, maybe now those people aren't laughing anymore. Because after five months, Herro has proven that he is, after all, a really, really good player.
Herro currently leads the Heat in scoring, averaging 25 points a game on 51% shooting from the field, 47% from downtown, and 84% from the free-throw line in their past ten games. He's also been playing efficient defense and is grabbing 4.5 boards and assisting 3.4 times a game.
Best bet to win the sixth-man of the year award
Herro, who is currently the overwhelming favorite to win this year's Sixth Man of the Year award, is averaging more points than Jamal Crawford, Manu Ginobili, and Jason Terry (previous recipients of the award) ever did in any season of their careers. According to both the stats and the eye test, the Heat guard has one of the best sixth man seasons in league history.
Not only is Herro statistically averaging the best numbers from the bench in the league, but he's also the team's best player in their closing lineup. He's become Eric Spoelstra's go-to weapon during clutch moments because his offense has become a reliable and threatening force for the team.
Herro's ability to beat opponents off the dribble, make mid-range shots, drives, or maneuver around pick-and-rolls makes him so lethal. He might not be in the same conversation as Doncic, Young, and Morant yet, but Herro has made an undeniable leap this season.
The Heat's championship hopes depend on Herro.
Although often injured, Miami knows what they'll be getting from Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry, who both have already proven that they can carry their team to the Finals. Herro has shown that he can wreak havoc this year's regular season, but all eyes will be on his production during the most critical point.
The biggest question for Herro is if he can replicate his scoring efficiency in the playoffs when the game slows down and the competition gets more challenging. Ginobili and James Harden are two of the best examples of the Sixth Man of the Year awardees who impacted their team well enough in the post-season. (Most would agree 2012 was Harden's best playoff year.) The same pressure will be on Herro if he does win the award, which is likely at this point.
Because the Heat will go as far as Herro's scoring takes them. He's become their best tool on offense and has to continue to be.