Tyler Herro has won the 2021-22 Sixth Man of the Year award, the NBA announced. Herro edged out fellow finalists Cam Johnson of the Phoenix Suns and Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is the first member of the Miami Heat ever to win the award, and the first Heat player chosen for any of the major awards since LeBron James won MVP in the 2012-13 season.
Herro averaged 20.7 points per game for the Heat, 44.7 percent shooting from the field and 39.9 percent shooting from behind the arc. Among teammates, only Jimmy Butler averaged more points for the season, and no other full-time reserve averaged even 18 points per game. Herro is the first full-time reserve to average more than 20 points per game since Lou Williams did so during the 2018-19 season.
Herro may have come off the bench for the Heat this season, but he consistently closed games for them and was one of their primary fourth-quarter scoring options. He led the team in both fourth-quarter points per game (5.6) and clutch points per game (2.3). Miami’s offense is fairly egalitarian and there is no defined closer. Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo and Herro all share ball-handling duties late in games, but Herro is the only one of those players never to have made an All-Star Game. That he is entrusted with that much responsibility says quite a bit about him as a player.
Herro initially made his name in the Orlando bubble by helping lead the Heat to the NBA Finals. He’s grown quite a bit as a player since then and this award proves that. But the goal remains the same. He helped the Heat make it to the last round two seasons ago. Now he’s hoping to take them over the top in this season postseason. If he keeps playing like this, he’ll have every opportunity to do so.