Perhaps this wouldn’t be an issue if Tyler Herro was playing in Size 12s.
But whether it’s his Size 13 sneakers or spatial unawareness, these have proven challenging times for the third-year Miami Heat guard and even some of his teammates.
As he prepared for Saturday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls at FTX Arena, Herro acknowledged that something has been off lately, namely his footing.
Herro exited Wednesday night’s victory over the Milwaukee Bucks having been called for stepping out of bounds in four consecutive games, with six such violations over that span.
“I just got to get my awareness back up, know where I’ll be on the floor,” he told the Sun Sentinel, shaking his head, with an incredulity about it all. “I’ll be all right.”
Nothing has changed recently when it comes to the NBA’s 94-by-50 dimensions. Nor have the Heat been practicing on anything with different proportions.
And yet, over five consecutive games entering Saturday night, the Heat had been called for a total of 10 such violations.
“Not totally sure,” coach Erik Spoelstra told the Sun Sentinel of such unique turnovers becoming a team staple. “A couple of them were passes that led to it. But it’s something we actually concentrated on the last week.
“And we have our coaching staff on the sidelines call it, even though there’s no defense out there.”
It hasn’t reached the point of Spoelstra reprising the Gene Hackman scene in Hoosiers and taking out a tape measure to reinforce the consistency of the court dimensions. But he has taken measure of the situation.
“We just have to work on it,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t think we have to obsess about it. I think it was just in a matter of a week of us emphasizing it.
“The guys are much more aware of the lines, even when they’re shooting just with the coaches.”
Herro certainly is.
“A couple of times I thought they called travels,” he said of the whistles. “And then I’d run the court and she said I stepped out of bounds. And I’m like, ‘Oh [expletive] I didn’t even know.
“It’s being aware of where I’m at. Sometimes you don’t realize you’re that close to the sideline, especially with our spacing, how far out we are.”
The issue is not particularly new to the Heat, with former Heat guard Josh Richardson in previous years having the same issue along the baseline that Herro has been having along the sideline.
Herro said the increased scrutiny during practice is appreciated.
“It definitely helps,” he said. “You don’t really pay attention to it, because it’s not something you’d think would happen multiple times, more than once. But after it happened like twice, three times, it’s just paying attention to it and being aware of it.”
With Spoelstra making sure his players remain aware.
“Because of the multiple turnovers in that regard, we have a heightened awareness and alertness,” he said.
“It’s more about the preparation before you get to that. It’s the prep, the mindfulness, the spatial awareness.”
Heat center Bam Adebayo on Friday held his fourth annual holiday giveaway, to provide toys and holiday treats to more than 1,200 children from Liberty City. The event at the Samuel K Johnson center was presented by his BBB (Bam, Books, & Brotherhood) Foundation.
Adebayo is sidelined through at least mid-January following Monday thumb surgery.