Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson is already proving his worth

Tyler Johnson #8 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against Spencer Dinwiddie #8 of the Brooklyn Nets in the first half. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Tyler Johnson #8 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against Spencer Dinwiddie #8 of the Brooklyn Nets in the first half. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson has already had one heck of a preseason run, making him worth his four-year, $50 million contract.

Tyler Johnson threw up not once, but twice, when he received his four-year, $50 million dollar offer from the Brooklyn Nets. A reaction that felt near and dear to some Miami Heat fans, once president Pat Riley decided to match that deal.

Because although the guard was generally well-liked at face value, some people simply couldn’t stomach the idea of a Developmental-Leaguer taking up so much of the team’s salary.

In fact, here we are almost a year later, and a part of Heat Nation is still doubting his worth.

Despite the 25-year-old having averaged 13.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals a game in 29.8 minutes off the bench in 2016-17. Numbers that closely mirror those of Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon, who won Sixth Man of the Year last season. At 28, Gordon averaged 16.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per matchup, in 31.0 minutes of play.


And now, on the brink of 2017-18 regular season play, Johnson is only continuing to prove himself.

In Miami’s first three preseason games, the North Dakota-native has averaged 11.6 points and 4.0 rebounds. Providing a spark off the bench and leading the team’s second-unit, Johnson has consistently showed out on both ends of the court. Offensively, the young buck is shooting lights out, including going 2-of-4 from downtown. And as for defense? Johnson pulled down nine rebounds Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets, something he only did once last year (versus the Philadelphia 76ers).

To further breakdown his performances, on October 1 in a win over the Atlanta Hawks, the guard led the team in scoring as he finished the evening with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, 3 rebounds and 1 steal in 17 minutes.

Then, on October 5, Johnson took things up a notch and scored 21 points while also grabbing 9 rebounds, all in just 23 minutes of play. He was once again the team’s leading scorer, shooting 6-for-12 from the field, including going a perfect 8-of-8 from the line. But his performance (one of few positives from the Heat’s loss to the Nets), was about more than just numbers. The guard’s versatility really shined through. He drove hard to the rim, nailed mid-range jumpers and managed to bury one from beyond-the-arc.

And although yesterday in a close loss against the Orlando Magic, he only played 6 minutes, he still managed to grab a block.

To think the Fresno State University standout went undrafted in 2014…

Next: Miami Heat fail to the Brooklyn Nets, as defense comes up short

There will always be people that think the Miami Heat overpaid Tyler Johnson. But if preseason is any indication of what’s to come from the guard, they may soon be eating their words.