While both Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole have had their fair share of struggles over the years, the Miami Heat have a point guard core that's on the rise.
Chalmers is coming off the best season of his five-year career. In 2012-13, he developed into a deadly three-point shooter (40.9 three-point shooting) and cut down on his turnovers (2.29 assist-to-turnover ratio). 'Rio still makes the occasional boneheaded play, but ultimately he's proven to be a reliable player for Miami.
On the other hand, Cole showed a great deal of growth towards the end of his second year in the league. After being statistically one of the worst offensive players at the start of the season, Cole was a revelation in the postseason, hitting three-pointer after three-pointer and displaying better playmaking skills.
So, what should we expect from these guys in the 2013-14 season? Let's find out!
Last season, 'Rio averaged 8.6 points on 42.9 percent shooting, 3.5 assists, 1.5 turnovers and 1.5 steals in 26.9 minutes per game and finished with a 13.29 PER. With Chalmers entering his basketball prime at 27 years old, there's reason to believe he'll build off last season and be a more efficient player in 2013-14.
Still, although a starter, Chalmers is never going to put up big numbers as long he's on this Heat team.
And that's not a bad thing for Super Mario. Let's be honest: He wouldn't be hitting 40.9 percent of his threes if he didn't have open looks created for him by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
On top of that, Chalmers isn't likely to match his 2012-13 numbers from an output standpoint. He saw a minute reduction last season and should see another one this year.
As we talked about, Cole, Chalmers' backup, is improving and poised for a bigger role in 2013-14. That obviously will mean less time on the court for Chalmers.
So while Chalmers will be better in 2013-14, his basic stats won't be.
Projected 2013-14 Stats: 25.2 MPG, 8.1 PPG, 44.2 FG%, 41.6 3PT%, 2.1 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.2 TOPG
At 24 years old, Cole is one of the few young and improving players on this Heat team.
He improved in each of the basic statistical categories last season, except for points per game (dropped from 6.8 to 5.6). But the decline in points actually showed growth on Cole's part, as he looked to pass more to his excellent teammates.
There's still plenty of room for Cole to grow offensively, but there's no denying the strides he took in 2012-13, specifically in the postseason. On a team with Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Mike Miller, Norris Cole was the Heat's top outside shooter in the postseason (53.1 3PT%). He was also more careful with the ball, finished better at the rim, and continued to be a fantastic on-ball defender.
This season, the most important thing for him will be to not revert to his old ways. He needs to keep playing the smart, let-the-game-come-to-me style that worked for him in the playoffs.
If Cole can do that, he is poised for a breakout season, one in which he might give Chalmers a run for his starting job at some point.
Projected 2013-14 Stats: 22.1 MPG, 6.4 PPG, 47.2 FG%, 37.7 3PT%, 1.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, .8 SPG, 1.4 TOPG