With the 2020 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers set to begin on Wednesday, Heat standout rookie Tyler Herro dished out some praise for new Knicks assistant Kenny Payne on Tuesday.
Herro, who was drafted by the Heat with the 13th overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft, averaged 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 38.9 percent, earning a spot on the All-Rookie second team.
But the former Kentucky star said on Tuesday that Payne’s tutelage has had a lot to do with his early NBA success, and he’s happy to see him get a chance in the NBA with the Knicks.
“It’s tremendous for him and his coaching career,’’ Herro told reporters on Tuesday. “KP was like a father figure to me as far as just mentoring me when I was at Kentucky, and we still talk to this day, almost every day. He’s a great leader in his own way.
“He’s been around a lot of tremendous players, talented players who went to Kentucky who are obviously in the league now. He’s going to get on you hard. He’s a tough coach, and he’s going to coach you. He’s going to try to bring the best out of you. I’m really happy for him and happy that he got that job.’’
Prior to accepting a job on Tom Thibodeau’s new Knicks staff in August, Payne spent 10 seasons as a top assistant for John Calipari at the University of Kentucky.
While with the Wildcats, Payne was part of 295 wins, a National Championship, four Final Fours and eight NCAA Tournament appearances.