Even Tyler Herro didn’t believe he’d be a possible first-round pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft when he arrived at Kentucky. This was a guy who at first was planning on going to Wisconsin before the Kentucky Wildcats came in. From the moment he stepped on campus though, he exceeded all expectations. He showed he was more than just the shooter he was tagged as entering college, showing a more well-rounded game. The 6’6″ guard showed competitiveness on the defensive end many didn’t know he had. There were flashes of playmaking ability as a secondary ball-handler to Ashton Hagans, the Wildcats point guard. All this helped Herro slowly rise up 2019 NBA Draft boards.
In the end, Herro wound up leading Kentucky in minutes, three-point field goals, and finished second in scoring per game. Herro did a lot of good at Kentucky but some of the results from the combine showed some of his future limitations at the next level. While Herro was able to measure in at 6’6″ with shoes, his negative wingspan of 6’3.25″ will cause problems for him defensively. He didn’t test athletically at the combine but Kentucky held their own in the preseason.
Now let’s get into just how Herro has been able to rise up draft boards and turn a multi-year college guy into a surprise one and done.
Although the narrative around Herro has changed to be more than just a shooter, his shooting is what’s made him a projected 2019 NBA Draft first rounder. Herro has great form when catching in rhythm as a spot-up shooter. The repeatability of his jumper is something that makes him so deadly. He’s a guy who always seems to get square and has the look of a guy you don’t expect to miss. That sounds funny for a guy who shot 35% from three in college on nearly 170 attempts. That’s a percentage that will need to improve for him to really stick at the next level. When you match up that percentage and form to a guy who also shot an SEC record 93.5% from the free throw line it makes sense.
— UK Basketball ? (@BBNation15) June 5, 2019
The shot-making ability is there, and all throughout his prep career, he was someone who knocked down threes at a high rate. Shooting as he has shown doesn’t just go away. Herro also has the ability to catch and shoot from awkward angles similar to a JJ Reddick. Shooting on the move for a guy who will likely find himself running and curling off screens is a skill usually developed in the NBA. Herro has done a solid job of showing it’s a part of his repertoire in his time while at Kentucky.
He’s also got a nice one and two dribble pull-up to his game. He’s shown the ability to be more than a one trick pony as a shooter. His pull-up game was something underrated as he was known on most scouting reports as a three-point shooter. His ability to attack closeouts with one-two dribble pull-ups allowed him to score easy buckets in the mid-range. He showed off a pretty consistent floater as well near the rim. As a guy without explosive athleticism having a floater is a big weapon and Herro often showed the ability to hit those in and around the paint.
Tyler Herro’s quickness off the catch – and off the ball in general – is pretty impressive. Don’t see it talked about too much pic.twitter.com/XPHUpST8UW
— Zach Milner (@ZachMilner13) June 13, 2019
Off the court, Tyler Herro is often described as soft-spoken, but once he hits the court he takes on a different persona. He’s borderline cocky and plays with an edge. It allowed a kid who was known as a “shooter” to be a competent defender at the college level. His compete level, a term you usually hear in other sports like hockey, is a big plus in Herro’s favor. He plays with a competitive edge not all guys have. It reminds of the way Nik Stauskas played when he was at Michigan years ago. He played with a borderline arrogance that brought out his best and that’s similar to Herro now. It’s what got him pegged as top 20 pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft
Tyler “I’m a Bucket” Herro drops 29 points on 9/10 from the field and carries Kentucky in a comeback win over Arkansas. One of the smoothest strokes in college basketball and the Swaggy-P confidence to complement it. pic.twitter.com/r5iMpvqmDX
— Draft Lead (@DraftLead) February 27, 2019
Hagans was Kentucky’s best defender and was often used as the head of the snake for their defense. But the best of the two wings on opposing teams usually went to Herro, especially in the later months of the year. While Herro will not be used as a three-and-D guy at the next level, his level of competitiveness may allow him to be serviceable.
It shouldn’t come as much of a shocker but it’s the lack of athleticism and explosiveness. His 33.5″ vertical was tied for second to last by a half an inch at Kentucky’s preseason combine. Herro actually performed well in agility drills compared to Ashton Hagans, someone who came into college with the hype of being very athletic. But combining his lack of pop with like previously mentioned short arms and lack of length is a problem. Herro is a guy who will strictly be asked to guard more shooting guards or weak shooting wings at the next level. His lack of length will cause problems for his ability to defend. He’s got a quick first step that is underrated but it still someone who can be picked on defensively. While he does try hard, quicker guys even at the college level were able to take advantage at times.
I’ve mentioned that they share some of the same personality traits when on the court but game-wise they are similar as well. Both guys are knockdown shooters at least coming out of school. Stauskas put up much better percentages while in school but nonetheless. Neither are known as lockdown defenders although Herro is more respectable on that end of the floor. Both guys actually are underrated as playmakers. Herro did average 2.5 assists in school last year and showed flashes while operating as a secondary ballhandler for Kentucky. That’s not something he will likely be asked to do in the NBA, but he’s shown to have it.