Tyler Herro: A look back at the Kentucky guard’s 2018-19 season
How much did Tyler Herro impress the Miami Heat during the predraft process?
They didn’t get caught up in how he measured up.
For Pat Riley and his staff, that, by itself, speaks volumes of what they think of the No. 13 pick out of Kentucky.
Because for years, the lengths a player goes to has been among the prime admission standards by the Heat.
And yet, of the prospects who availed themselves to the measurements and testing at last month’s NBA draft combine in Chicago, only three came in with shorter wingspans that the 6 feet, 3 1/4 inches of the former Wildcats freshman.
But that was not what caught most of the attention of the scouts in attendance. Instead it was that Herro, who measured in at 6-foot-6, was one of only four prospects to test at a negative wingspan, at a figure shorter than his height.
“I didn’t really know my wingspan was that short until it got measured,” the confident 19-year-old said of the measurement taken from fingertip to fingertip with arms outstretched.
(Note: Herro’s 2018 Kentucky Pro Day measurements — 6-4 without shoes; 6-5 with shoes; 6-4 1/2 wingspan — support that.)
“Either way, I was good with whatever my arm length is,” Herro said.
Even better, so were the Heat.
In a league that now tracks tips and deflections, such advantages have weighed heavily in the Heat’s recent draft history. The Heat’s previous first-round pick, center Bam Adebayo, measured in at the 2017 combine at 6-9 3/4 in shoes with a 7-2 3/4 wingman. The Heat’s lottery selection before that, forward Justise Winslow, measured in at the 2015 combine at 6-6 1/2 in shoes with a 6-10 1/4 wingspan. Even the Heat’s other draft choice last week, second-round pick KZ Okpala, measured in last month in Chicago at 6-9 1/2 with a 7-1 1/4 wingspan.
In the case of Herro, the Heat downplayed the deficit because of the role in the backcourt.
And yet, the franchise’s greatest success story, Dwyane Wade, measured in at 6-3 3/4 at the 2003 combine (when measurements only without shoes were recorded), with a whopping plus wingspan of 6-10 3/4 . You currently can find the recently retired icon among the NBA’s all-time backcourt leaders in steals and blocked shots.
Yet even that differential pales in comparison to the plus-eight of Kawhi Leonard or that of Rajon Rondo, who, at 6-1, has had his wingspan measured as long as 6-10.
Rondo, of course, has struggled with his shot throughout his career, something that hardly figures to ever stand as an issue with Herro, who dazzled the Heat with his shooting at his AmericanAirlines Arena tryout.
Among the prospects bypassed by the Heat was Indiana guard Romeo Langford, who measured in at 6-6 in Chicago with a 6-11 wingspan, taken one pick after the Herro by the Boston Celtics, and North Carolina guard Nassir Little, who measured in at 6-6 with a 7-1 1/4 wingspan, selected at No. 25 by the Portland Trail Blazers.
But there also were players such as Ty Jerome, Brandon Clarke and Luka Samanic, all selected within the first 24 picks, who exited the combine with negative or, in Clarke’s case, equal measurements in wingspan.
No matter, Herro said.
He remains firm in the belief of measuring up, with a pinned post on his Twitter account from November 2017 that reads, “Shoutout to everyone doubting me.”
“Ever since I was in high school,” he said, “I just tried to prove people wrong, and a lot of people doubt me and I just put a lot of work in and a lot of effort into it. I have a lot of confidence.”