Jun 6, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat point guard Norris Cole (30) during the second quarter of game one of the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Why Norris Cole Matters

This is the first memory we have of Norris Cole in a Heat uniform, and it was an amazing thing to witness:

As great as it was, it seems like forever ago.

It’s been a great two year ride for Cole as an up and coming member of the Heat, but there has also been many head scratching moments that have left him in the doghouse somewhat.

He was the catalyst in the Heat’s comeback in Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder and great in the Heat’s second round series against the Bulls in 2013, but he was taken out of the rotation in the 2013 NBA Finals by Game 5.

Going into this 3rd season, the Heat are going to need Cole more than ever. The status of Dwyane Wade’s knee is unknown, and coach Erik Spoelstra would be best served to monitor Wade’s minutes if the Heat are expecting to make another late season run. As the only reserve guard on the roster besides Ray Allen, Cole is due for a big increase in minutes.

Cole is the only legitimate young prospect the Heat have, and they’ll need his fresh legs if they want to be on that stage again in June. His per game numbers aren’t eye-popping (5.6 ppg, 2.1 apg, 1.6 rpg, and 0.7 spg), but when you expand his role to per 36 minutes, he becomes much more valuable (10.1 ppg, 3.7 apg, 2.9 rpg, and 1.3 spg). What those numbers suggest is that Cole improves the more he is on the floor.

Although his basketball IQ has to improve (as expected with a young player), his defensive pressure and improving jump shot will have him playing very important minutes this year.

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