Miami Heat: Norris Cole a Great Prospect, But It's Too Early To Tell

Andrew BaumannContributor IIIDecember 28, 2011

MIAMI - MARCH 20:  Guard Norris Cole #30 (R) of the Cleveland State University Vikings takes a shot over  guard L.D. Williams #42 (L) of Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the American Airlines Arena on March 20, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

If you haven't heard, Miami Heat rookie Norris Cole out of Cleveland State made splashes last night when he led the Heat on a late surge to hold their lead against the Boston Celtics.

Scoring 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, Cole played 29 minutes and shot 50 percent on 16 attempts from the field, with four rebounds and four assists. His play was clearly better than that of current starter Mario Chalmers, who played only 19 minutes and had six turnovers and four points.

Cole was drafted late in the first round by Chicago, and was subsequently traded from there to Minnesota, then to Miami, where he is currently playing.

As a rookie, Cole put on an amazing show last night and clearly controlled the floor. As the above article states, many people were widely impressed with his play—even the announcer in the NBA's highlight of the game remarked: "Norris Cole, remember this name!" in astonishment. 

However, the NBA has always proven to be a game-by-game league; with so many games per season, one cannot base their opinions on players based upon a one-game performance.

Norris Cole's story is inspiring: He was drafted low because he played for a lesser-known school and was then traded this way and that on draft night. His big performance last night clearly shows he is a talented individual that has the drive and tenacity to make it in the NBA, but only time will tell.

In his first game, he scored only seven points in 24 minutes, with four turnovers and no assists. 

I appreciate Norris Cole, but we'll only know if he is capable of doing this again if he can do it consistently. It's too early to anoint him as the chosen starting PG of the Heat.

Even if Cole can play at this high level, one has to ask if he is the correct fit for the Miami Heat as a team right now. Throughout his college career, Cole was always a scoring PG rather than a facilitator. Do the Heat need another scoring option, especially at the PG position?

While it worked last night, one has to wonder if it will work forever, with James, Wade and Bosh already good options.

The Heat would ultimately excel with a Steve Nash or Rajon Rondo-type PG, not a Russell Westbrook or a Derrick Rose. Still, as I have said many times before, only time will tell what Norris Cole turns out to truly be.

At least for the night, though, Cole was the star in Miami, and that's all we can really say.