14 Things I Learned in Year One

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(1) It’s okay to be in awe a little. You know what I’m saying? Like I think your instinct as a rookie is to act cool, to act unimpressed. But one of the big things I realized was that it’s okay to just..... take a minute. To just step back and kind of appreciate the situation you’re in. 

Like, it’s okay if the first thought running through your head after you get drafted is just, Damn — I got drafted. It's okay if you’re standing out there for your first Summer League game and the NBA logos on the floor are giving you chills. 

Feeling that type of way, I don’t think it makes you seem intimidated or anything. To me it’s more like: It’s a sign that you get it. You understand the moment you’re in. 

You understand the moment is real.

(2) Alright but don’t be too in awe. I remember one night during Summer League, it’s after a game of ours, and a bunch of guys are about to go out for dinner somewhere. And they’re like, “Yo, Ty, you wanna come??” And y’all have to understand — I’m only 19 at this point. It’s only been a few months since I was under those college rules. Those rules rules. 

So I ask the guys who are about to leave, since it was late, I’m like, “Are — are we allowed to leave the hotel?”

And they all just start cracking up. 

I’m that rookie.

“Bro….. you’re in the NBA. You know that, right? YES we can leave the hotel.”

(3) Expectations are a two-way street. People always talk about how confident I seem on the court. (Probably because I am confident on the court.) But my confidence isn’t really what drives me. Like, what really made me level up last season — it’s not about how good I knew I was.

It’s about how good I knew I was expected to be.

That’s why I think I was able to have some success last season: Because on the one hand you had me daring myself to become an All Star. And then on this other hand, you had Pat, at the press conference where they’re introducing me as their draft pick — saying to the media I’m going to become an All Star.

Man, I loved that. I love being in a spot where not only do I expect my own greatness — I’m also part of an organization that expects greatness from me.

Or just think of it this way: Would you want to be the dude who lets Pat Riley down??

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(4) Jimmy Butler is a winner. I guess it wasn’t just me who learned that last season. The whole world learned that. But it’s crazy to me that it took people this long. 

Jimmy is the #1 hardest worker I’ve ever been around — I mean, #1. Period. That’s real. 

Dude sweats buckets for his goals. And I think the most polite way to put this next thought is: basically, you’ve either got to be willing to match that sweat, drop for drop — or get out of the way. And Heat culture is a perfect fit for Jimmy, because now he’s leading an entire roster of guys who are all going to refuse to be outworked. Now he’s in this situation where it’s like..… Are we going to lose a game here and there? Yeah, maybe. But you’ll have to kill us first.

That all starts with Jimmy.

(5) Shoutout to League Pass. One thing people forget is how I’d already been on pause for a minute, dealing with an ankle injury, by the time COVID hit. And just with being stuck at home, not traveling with the team and all that…... man, I hated being away from the game. So I started watching a bunch of League Pass to get my basketball fix.

And it’s funny, because I’d turn on the TV and in my head I’m thinking, like, Alright…... time to just kick back and watch a game or two. You know, relax for a few hours, see what’s up around the league. But that’s just not how I’m wired. I’m wired to compete — even when I’m on the couch in a walking boot. So I might start out “surfing League Pass” or whatever….. but pretty soon that would turn into me keying in on a few specific players I like to study. 

Like I might key in on Book, who I’ve basically been modeling my whole approach after. 

Or Luka, who I already look at as one of the best all-around guards in the world. 

Or Harden, who I think is maybe the best pure scorer at the guard spot ever.

Guys like that.

And I’d just watch them do their thing, and I’d take these mental notes. 

I’d try to see the game flow through these other perspectives.

(6) Biking laps is a vibe. I feel like y’all heard a lot about the bubble fishing scene. Y’all heard a lot about bubble golf. Shoutout to the fishers and the golfers. But to tell you the truth? The best vibes in the entire bubble…. it was just going on a bike ride around the resort. Or at least that was my experience. What I liked about it is it’s a 1.3 mile lap — so you and the boys are never getting too bored. But you’re also never too far from being done. Those are hallmarks of a chill activity.

Here’s my “Biking Vibes” playlist:

(7) Coach Spo knew. Coach just knew, man. He wasn’t cocky about it, wasn’t arrogant about it. Nothing corny, no inspirational speeches. No guarantees. But when Coach talked to us before Game 1 of the Pacers series — you could just tell by the way he was carrying himself. It was that calm someone has, you know what I mean? Where it’s like….. maybe they know something you don’t.

Coach just got everyone’s attention, and pointed out how there’s a path for us here. Pointed out how there’s not a team in the conference that we don’t match up well with — so why couldn’t we make a run?

And that was it. 

Wasn’t some hype sh*t. Nothing you’d put in a movie. 

It was just Coach, you know — taking a look at us. Then taking a look at everyone else.

And liking our chances.

(8) There’s OGs….... and then there’s UD. Like, there’s vets — and then there’s vets. I feel blessed about the circumstances that I got to come up in last year, and this culture that I got to be a part of. But blessed is one thing. Having Udonis Haslem as your Big Vet, your first season in the league?? Man….. that’s a whole other thing. That’s like winning the lottery. And the fact that he re-upped this offseason, and now he’s back for another year? That’s pretty much like winning the lottery twice.

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(9) It’s a simple reason why we beat Milwaukee. Wasn’t about winning Game 1. Wasn’t about winning Game 2. Wasn’t about winning Game 3.

Nah. 

If you want to know the reason why we beat them — it was all about losing Game 4.

Maybe that sounds weird, but for me it makes sense. That’s how I think about it. Because if you remember the end of Game 4, it was a heartbreaker. Giannis was out, we had a chance to finish them off, but they made some ridiculous shots — forced OT, then beat us by a bucket.

And I think there’s a lot of teams where I could see a loss like that being the beginning of the end for them. You know the kind of series I’m talking about? Where the underdog has their shot, but they don’t take advantage, and then — bam. Everything turns on a dime.

And what’s unique about our group, man, is like…... it wasn’t just that we didn’t respond that way. We responded the total opposite way.

We were jacked for Game 5, after losing Game 4. We were ready ready. I mean — this will sound like I’m joking, but I’m dead serious: we’d have played another game that night if they'd let us. Dead serious. If they had let us, we’d have played a doubleheader. And for me, that right there, it just tells you all you need to know about our group. 

Like, think about what kind of team eats an L that tough in a game that big..... and their response is, “Yo — let’s run it back.” That’s a scary sight.

And that’s what we were during those Playoffs, a scary sight.

(10) I miss playing in front of y’all fans. I got nothing else to add. I just miss it.

(11) I’m proud of being trusted to go for 37. That’s how I look at Game 4 against Boston. Like, what’s special about that one for me — it’s not that my jumper was cooking. It’s more the situation we were in. 

Conference Finals, up 2–1. 

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So it’s the difference between us going up 3–1 (a win away from the NBA Finals), or being tied 2–2 (with them having all the momentum).

It’s a huge spot.

And that’s what meant everything. Like, it wasn’t me getting the green light on some random night in February after I made a couple. This was Coach, during one of the biggest games of the year, showing faith in me.

This was my teammates, with our season on the line, being like — Tyler has it going tonight. Let’s let him rock. 

(12) Apparently some Tyler Herro memes blew up during the Playoffs. That’s cool. The snarl was alright.

I like this one:

Thank you to the meme artists.

(13) If the NBA was a video game, LeBron is like the final boss. That’s probably how I’d sum up the end of our season, I guess.

It’s like — on one level, it was a failure for sure. There’s a culture here and we own it. Our goal is to win championships. And we came up empty.

But on another level….. man. That was an insane run. We played our hearts out. We beat some really good teams. 

And then we just fell a little short vs. the final boss.

(14) The way we came back from that Game 4 Milwaukee loss — that’s also kind of how we’ve responded to losing the Finals. Like…. losing was tough, no doubt. But I don’t think this is a group that spent the offseason in its feelings about it. 

Actually, the opposite: I think this is a group that spent the offseason motivated as hell. 

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This is a team that would have played the Lakers again that same night if they'd let us.

So when I get asked about the shorter turnaround and all that, and how it might impact us, and if we’ll be ready? It’s like — there’s no if about it. I know we’ll be ready. 

We’ll be ready because we’ve been ready. 

We’ll be ready because we’re all putting our work in while thinking the same damn thing: 

Someone beat us. Good for them. That’s over now.

Let’s run it back.