Miami Heat: Why Norris Cole Will Win Rookie of the Year

Adam Spencer@AdamSpencer4Correspondent IDecember 28, 2011

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 12:  Norris Cole #30 of the Miami Heat poses during media day at American Airlines Arena on December 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Norris Cole, a 23-year-old point guard from Cleveland State, was the 28th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft.

He's now busy winning games for the Miami Heat. In Tuesday's victory over the Boston Celtics, Cole scored 14 of the Heat's 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics were trying to mount a comeback.

Cole is currently coming off the bench behind starter Mario Chalmers. However, if Chalmers continues to struggle and Cole continues to play this well, a change could be imminent.

In a year where No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving has got off to a slow start and his biggest competition seems to be Tristan Thompson, it's not far-fetched to think that Cole could win Rookie of the Year.

With guys like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade teaching him the ropes in the NBA, Cole could become a valuable sixth or seventh man for the Heat.

He can take over for Chalmers or Wade and score some points.

He needs to work on his passing, since he's always been more of a scorer than a passer. However, with guys like James and Wade and Chris Bosh to pass to, the assists will come in time.

Irving had more assists in his first game in the NBA, but he hasn't been able to score as well as Cole yet.

That can change, of course. However, for now, Cole appears to be the front-runner for the Rookie of the Year award.

If he can average 12 points and three assists off the bench for a team as good as the Heat, that could be enough to steal the award.

What's more, if he continues to play well in clutch situations, he'll get even more support for Rookie of the Year.

His maturity at age 23 gives him a leg up over the other, younger rookies. He has the experience of four years of college basketball and three years of experience as a team's go-to guy.

It's still early, but based on what we've seen from Cole so far, he could be the steal of the 2011 NBA draft and has serious Rookie of the Year potential.