Note: We wrote about Miami Heat fans’ burgeoning love affair with relatively unheralded rookie point guard Norris Cole the other day. We at SportsGrid aren’t Heat fans ourselves, but we do have one in our midst. So we decided: why not have an actual Heat fan write about the excitement of Norris Cole? What follows is actual Heat fan/editor of our sister site Geekosystem James Plafke, on the potential phenomenon of Norris Cole. Take it away, James.
I am a Miami Heat fan, born and raised in south Florida. I’m not about to defend LeBron James, nor am I about to discuss at length the Heat’s potential lack of team depth or their largely unorthodox positional composition of what essentially amounts to a striking lack of centers and reliable point guards. Yes, I love Dwyane Wade and James, they are extremely fun to watch, and no, I don’t think Chris Bosh is underperforming given his totally satisfactory statistical and intangible contributions, whether or not it is super fun to ridicule him through the magical medium of song.
And for the record, Miami Heat fans do not experience even the slightest tinge of guilt rooting for LeBron James — he’s LeBron James and he’s ours. I’m not about to employ the use of hyperbole to describe anything regarding this team — no, I’m simply here to say that Norris Cole is the best player professional basketball has ever known.
Nah, but seriously, as a Heat fan, I couldn’t be more excited about this youngster.
Yes, this is all very similar to when the Heat drafted Mario Chalmers — a promising college player who we somehow managed to snag later in a draft than he really should have gone. Any perpetually frustrated, never-satisfied Heat fan will tell you that, though we like Mario, he is a source of some of our frustration. And, as evidenced by the team getting Cole on draft night and being in every single talk for every single point guard that becomes available, that frustration is shared by the Heat.
The two general schools of thought regarding the Heat are that they need a center, or they need a point guard — it’ll be difficult for them to get both for now (which is why there are two general schools instead of one “get everything” school). And whatever center the Heat get, he won’t be able to contain the centers that the Heat already can’t contain – i.e. Dwight Howard – so that shouldn’t actually factor into the team’s thinking. It would just be nice to have a big guy to help take pressure off the smaller guys who do big guy things (see: Dwyane Wade, a 6’4″ shooting guard, getting blocks and rebounds at a rate comparable to some players half a foot taller).
I, though, fall into the “get a point guard” camp. The Heat came within two games of winning the Finals last year without either a point guard or a center, and either would’ve helped, but I feel the Heat need someone to control the offense and rein in LeBron and Wade when the pair go into hero mode, jacking up ill-advised three after ill-advised three, or to get the offense moving again when Wade goes into isolation and LeBron, the clear best player in the league at 6’8 and 265 pounds of freakish body, stands at the top of the key doing absolutely nothing.
So, they got Norris Cole. Why not? His senior season college numbers of 21.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game were totally worth a late draft flyer. He looked confident and NBA-ready in the preseason – cool, but it’s just the preseason, when no one tries because it’s just the preseason. He did alright in his first game this season against the Mavs, notching seven points, two rebounds, a steal and a three in 24 minutes, but man, did he have an impact in the next game, against the Celtics.