There are plenty of similarities between Suns guard Devin Booker and Heat guard Tyler Herro.
Both are perimeter players. Both played college basketball at Kentucky. Both were the No. 13 pick in their respective drafts.
But the similarities don’t stop there, at least not in Herro’s eyes. When it comes to NBA comparisons, the rookie believes the best one for his game is Booker.
“I think we have the same body type,” Herro said, with the Heat facing Booker and the Suns on Thursday as part of Miami’s three-game West Coast trip. “Obviously, I think he’s going to be an All-Star this year. I think there’s nothing that he does that I can’t do. That’s nothing against his game. I just think I’m capable of doing what he does if I continue to improve, obviously.
“For me, when I look at a guy I can model my game after, I want to make it realistic and something I can chase and something that’s reality.”
The 19-year-old Herro is listed at 6-5 and 195 pounds and the 23-year-old Booker is listed at 6-5 and 206 pounds. Like Herro has done this season, Booker had to prove he was more than just a shooter when he entered the NBA in 2015.
That’s why Herro studies Booker’s game closely, from the shots Booker takes to Booker’s approach to different coverages.
“That’s all I watch is Devin,” Herro said when asked if he watches tape of Booker.
What does Herro take from that tape?
“Everything. I think just picking different things out of his game and trying to work on it,” Herro said. “Just the way he gets to his spots, when he picks and chooses to be aggressive, the footwork he uses when he gets to his spots, how he reads the defense. Really, just trying to dissect everything from his game.”
Herro doesn’t necessarily need to rely on just film to learn from Booker, though. The two have developed a friendship, which began when Herro committed to Kentucky in 2017.
The two speak often, with Herro noting they even had a conversation Tuesday morning before the Heat’s loss to the Nuggets. Booker has made it a point to offer feedback, reaching out after Herro’s big performances.
“That’s like a big brother now at this point,” said Herro, who is averaging 13.7 points while shooting 42.3 percent from the field and 35.3 percent on threes this season. “He knows how I admire his game. Pretty much, we talk a lot. I’m going to see him in Phoenix before the game. We’ll try to get to dinner or something and go to his house.”
Booker is a good player for Herro to study, especially this season. Booker is averaging 26.1 points while shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 50 percent on threes over the Suns’ 5-2 start to the season.
Booker averaged 13.8 points on 42.3 percent shooting as a rookie in 2015-16.
“I want to write my own story,” Herro said. “But I do think I can score. Obviously, Devin is one of the best scorers in the league. But I think I can do some things like that. I think I’m much more than a shooter, as I’ve shown throughout the season so far.”
Herro and Booker share the same trainer, Robbie Haught. But the two have never worked out or played together.
When asked before the June draft what his dream one-on-one matchup in the NBA would be, Herro said Booker. Thursday will mark the first time they share a basketball court.
“It’s going to be surreal,” Herro said. “But when I’m on the court, I’m not going to be a fan of him. I’m going to be out there trying to score on him, stop him and things like that.”