What do Tyler Herro and Magic Johnson have in widespread? They’re the one two rookies in NBA historical past to attain a minimum of 35 factors, seize a minimum of 5 rebounds and dish out three or extra assists in one of many two closing rounds of the playoffs. Herro’s Recreation four explosion gave him the file for factors by a rookie within the convention finals, passing two-time All-Star Andrew Toney. Two spots down on that record? Johnson’s everlasting rival Larry Chicken, who did not attain the 37 factors Herro scored in any playoff sport till his fourth season.
Wednesday was no remoted incident. It was the end result of one of many best rookie playoff runs the NBA has ever seen. A future famous person is rising earlier than our eyes. Herro has been so good that some historic context is important right here. Simply the place does this rank among the many best playoff runs in rookie historical past?
One rookie stands atop the remainder in playoff historical past, and it is precisely who you’d count on. Magic Johnson’s 18.three factors, 10.5 rebounds and 9.four assists per sport within the 1980 postseason is the best run any rookie will ever have, and it culminated in one of the vital well-known particular person performances in league historical past. Till Herro performs all 5 positions on the best way to a 42-15-7 line and Finals MVP, Johnson’s place atop these rankings is safe. Others have posted extra spectacular numbers, however have performed so on shorter runs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as an example, averaged over 35 factors per sport in his first playoff run, however was knocked out within the second spherical. Donovan Mitchell and David Robinson fall in the identical camp.
Amongst rookies who performed a minimum of the 13 playoff video games that the Miami Warmth have thus far, Tyler Herro ‘s 16.5 factors per sport ranks fifth in NBA historical past. The identify instantly above him is Alvan Adams, however the three others ought to excite Warmth followers way more: Magic Johnson, Jayson Tatum, and the best Warmth participant of all of them, Dwyane Wade.
Wade’s run shares a lot of similarities with Herro’s. Each cases noticed the promising rookie as a part of an ensemble solid. The 2003 Warmth have been a No. four seed. This yr‘s Warmth have been No. 5. However Wade’s run ended within the second spherical towards the No. 1 seeded Indiana Pacers. Herro buried this season’s No. 1 seed, the Milwaukee Bucks, in 5 video games. Tatum made it to the Japanese Convention Finals as Herro has, however misplaced in seven video games. Herro would want to lose three straight to be knocked out in the identical vogue, and whereas Tatum scored extra, Herro averaged extra assists and rebounds, and did so with the next efficient area aim share.
Tatum’s position inherently made him extra beneficial throughout that run. With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward out because of damage, he was Boston’s main scorer. Defenses targeted on him. The Warmth nonetheless run by Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic. That makes Adams, second to Paul Westphal on the 1976-77 Phoenix Suns, the extra acceptable comparability. Additionally it is the run, other than Johnson’s, Herro would seemingly choose to emulate. He reached the NBA Finals. That makes him one among solely 4 rookies to common double-digit factors within the playoffs on the best way to a Finals run, becoming a member of teammate Ricky Sobers in addition to two Corridor of Famers: Johnson and Jack Sikma.
It is sensible intuitively. The perfect rookies nearly by no means land on Finals-caliber groups. The leap from the lottery into competition is never achievable in a single yr. Even when it’s, rookies are typically unreliable. Loads of contending groups have had highly-drafted rookies, or unheralded ones that grew to become stars. They simply not often play them when it counts. The stakes are often too excessive for 20-year-olds.
However the Warmth belief Tyler Herro explicitly. He closes video games for them regardless of his standing as a nominal reserve. Solely Butler and Dragic have taken extra clutch shot makes an attempt than him on his staff this postseason (14), a feat so uncommon that he has taken almost twice as many clutch shot makes an attempt as each different rookie within the playoff area mixed (eight). Solely two rookies this century have ever topped that: Tatum, with 15, and Derrick Rose, with 19.
Measuring precise worth amongst all of those postseason runs, given variations in period, skill-set and position, would not be attainable, however for Herro’s sake, it does not should be. The NBA does not award a trophy for the best rookie playoff run of all time. It awards loads of others, although, and the gamers we have listed at varied factors right here have, sooner or later or one other, collected most of them.
Johnson and Rose are MVPs. Johnson and Wade are Finals MVPs. Tatum is a reigning All-NBA participant, and even Adams, the one-hit-wonder of the group, made an All-Star staff. Herro is averaging extra factors per sport than Ben Simmons, Tony Parker or Charles Barkley as rookies. All three of them ultimately achieved superstardom.