Heat select Kentucky guard Tyler Herro with 13th overall pick in 2019 NBA draft
MIAMI (AP) — Tyler Herro is already the answer to a trivia question. He's the first shooting guard that the Miami Heat drafted after Dwyane Wade retired.
The former Kentucky sharpshooter was the 13th overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night, going to a Heat team that will have a glaring hole in its backcourt now that Wade — considered the best player in franchise history — isn't around anymore. And while it's unrealistic to think that Herro can come close to filling Wade's role, he has certain gifts the Heat could not overlook.
Herro averaged 14.0 points, led Kentucky in minutes per game, was a 36 percent shooter from 3-point range and went 87 for 93 from the foul line for a school-record 93.5 percent clip. He was picked as the SEC's newcomer of the year, and the Wildcats were 19-0 in games where he scored at least 15 points.
"I can assure you, I'm not no Dwyane Wade yet," Herro said.
Wade quickly chimed in with well-wishes after the pick was announced.
"Ok Tyler Herro i hope you're ready to work. It's the MiamiHEAT way. Let's go!" Wade wrote on Twitter.
Herro will likely to get a chance for minutes right away, though it's been a decade since a Heat rookie averaged double figures in scoring over a full season. Michael Beasley averaged 13.9 points and Mario Chalmers averaged 10.0 in the 2008-09 season, and the only other two rookies to average at least that much for Miami in the last 20 seasons were Caron Butler (15.4 in 2002-03) and Wade (16.2 in 2003-04).
"I think Tyler has proven in his short time at Kentucky that he's not only a great shooter but he's a competitor," Heat President Pat Riley said. "He's tough and he can defend. We're very excited to have him."
Herro was just the second pick the Heat made since choosing Josh Richardson 40th overall in 2015. The Heat had no picks in 2016, chose Kentucky's Bam Adebayo with the 14th pick in 2017 and made no selections again last year. But Herro had a strong workout, and went to the draft believing he merited a lottery pick.
"I'm definitely a shooter," Herro said. "I think I can play in pick-and-rolls, I can create a little bit more than people think. ... I'm much more than a shooter."
Herro hails from Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wisconsin — a suburb of Milwaukee, a place with a population of about 35,000. Herro said he's the first player from his area to get the draft call.
"Not too many kids make it from where I'm from," Herro said.
Herro would become the second No. 13 overall pick on next season's Heat roster, joining Kelly Olynyk — the 13th pick by Dallas in 2013. Other notable past 13th overall selections include Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Donovan Mitchell and Devin Booker.
"The journey's just starting," Herro said.
Herro was a player that Kentucky coach John Calipari could barely take off the floor down the stretch of last season. He was also the only Wildcat to start all 37 games.
"I think I'm a completely different player from the beginning of the year," Herro said. "Coach Cal put a lot of trust in me, obviously. I was playing the most minutes on the team. It's just a true blessing that he trusted me and believed in me."
The Heat are coming off a 39-43 season, one where they missed the playoffs for the third time in the last five years. Miami hasn't missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 2001-02 and 2002-03 — the ones immediately preceding Wade's arrival in Miami. Wade retired at the end of this past season, ending a 16-year career after three championships and as the Heat all-time leader in many stat categories.
Miami isn't expected to be a major player in the free-agent market this summer because of a lack of cap space. Adding in about $3 million for Herro's rookie salary, the Heat will have roughly $133 million committed toward 11 players for the 2019-20 season.
Point guard Goran Dragic has exercised his $19.2 million option for next season, and center Hassan Whiteside plans to do the same on his $27.1 million option in the coming days. The Heat have until July 10 to decide whether they will guarantee the final $5.6 million of Ryan Anderson's $21.3 million salary, and are still waiting to get definitive word on whether Udonis Haslem plans to return for a 17th season.
Miami also had a hand in a pair of second-round selections, both of which will be on the move in trades.
The Heat will end up with the 32nd overall pick, KZ Okpala of Stanford. Okpala was selected by Phoenix, will be traded to Indiana in a prearranged deal and the Pacers will flip him to the Heat in exchange for three second-round selections, said a person familiar with the move. Miami then took Oregon's Bol Bol with the 44th pick and will be trading him to the Denver Nuggets, the person said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because both moves are pending league approval.