Tyler Herro surprised a lot of people with his 37-point outburst Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
But not Bam Adebayo.
The Miami Heat big man played at Kentucky two seasons before Herro arrived in Lexington and paid close attention to the sharpshooting guard as he starred for the Wildcats in 2018-19.
So, when the 2019 NBA Draft rolled around, Adebayo naturally wanted Miami to draft another Kentucky kid with the No. 13 overall pick -- and apparently told Heat president Pat Riley as much.
Bam Adebayo: I was the one who put the bug in Pat Riley's ear to draft Tyler Herro pic.twitter.com/iCwWoHgwmv— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) September 24, 2020
"First of all, I haven't been surprised. I knew what the kid could do," Adebayo said after Miami's 112-109 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. "I was the one (who) put the bug in Pat's ear to draft the kid. Just saying."
Might this be some revisionist history after Herro blossomed into a second-team All-Rookie player? And might the Heat have drafted Herro anyway without Adebayo's insistence? Yes and yes.
But if Adebayo helped convince Miami to draft Herro, he did so at the expense of the Celtics, who were eyeing Herro with the No. 14 overall pick before the Heat swooped in. Boston instead took Romeo Langford, whose postseason just ended due to wrist surgery.
The "what if" game with Boston and Herro reached a new level Wednesday night, as the 20-year-old rookie pushed the team that wanted to draft him to the brink of playoff elimination with a historic performance.
Most points by a rookie vs. the Celtics in the playoffs
So, instead of getting a spark from a playmaking rookie off the bench, the Celtics now must find a way to contain that young star Friday night to avoid an exit from the bubble.