Norris Cole finds himself in an interesting position as the 2013-2014 season approaches; the point guard in his third year with the team is already a two-time NBA champion, and fan favorite. That being said the Heat's primary back-up has had significantly average seasons since his NBA debut.
His signature flattop, although mesmerizing, cannot distract from his sub-par statistics. Last season, Cole averaged 5.6 points, 2.1 assists, and 1.6 rebounds sporting a PER of 7.92. Those are hardly elite point guard stats, however stats are just numbers and Cole did improve last season in different respects. While still undersized, Cole's jump shot and defense improved significantly.
As made evident in the postseason, Cole can be a very aggressive defender. Unfortunately this sometimes results in fouls, but in turn can be honed to be a very strong weapon. While less recognized, Cole was able to shoot 35.7 percent from beyond the arc, as well as 53.1 percent in the post-season which showed an enormous improvement from his rookie outing.
To be an effective point guard, Cole needs to work on his playmaking ability because 2.1 assists is not enough. To accomplish this, he must get rid of his tunnel vision and re-gain body control - something that will most likely be perfected during training camp. Cole is a hard-worker, Pat Riley wouldn't have even peered in his direction if he wasn't and he only continues to improve.
Is Cole starting point-guard material? No. Not yet, but he's on his way. Although smaller, he makes up for it with his speed and pure athleticism. Cole is still learning the league, and doing so under the likes of some of the NBA's greatest talents. This is a tremendous asset as he looks to gain more minutes this season.
Norris Cole has the makings to be a huge factor for the Heat if molded properly, and I for one can't wait to see what he can do.