#28: Norris Cole
Norris Cole is not headed to Minnesota, after all. He’s headed to the Miami HEAT, where he’ll likely get a fair shake at some serious minutes for a good team who really, really needs depth at the point guard position.
Only Mario Chalmers is certain to play point guard for this team next season, so Cole will get plenty opportunities to play for one of the best teams in the league. If he can keep from getting starstruck, it could be a very good year for him in South Beach.
Norris Cole’s flat-top is probably the smoothest bit of style in this NBA draft class, and he’s taking that fashionable Kid ‘n Play ‘do to Minneapolis, where he’ll wrestle for minutes with a pretty heavy Timberwolves point guard corps.
Cole is a four-year player out of Cleveland State, and most scouts agree that despite all that experience he’s still improving, not only as a distributor, but as a scorer as well. He’s got a load of potential, and Minnesota apparently isn’t in too big a hurry to get him minutes, as he’ll be playing behind Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour. Having traded Jonny Flynn to Houston earlier in the evening, one would’ve thought that Minnesota finally got their logjam at point guard cleared up, but barring a trade this further complicates things.
Many projected him as a second-round pick, but he’s not really a reach as a late first-rounder. Cole was drafted by the Chicago Bulls but packaged with Chicago’s second-round pick in exchange for European prospect Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic is the recipient of very high praise, but he’s got a huge buyout and won’t be in the league for a few years.
From Chicago’s perspective, they’re more interested in adding veterans than rookies, so in getting rid of two of their picks for a guy they can store in Europe and worry about somewhere down the road is a savvy move. It’s a bit more curious for Minnesota, however, but when has Minnesota ever been predictable on draft night?
UPDATE: This pick has been traded to the Miami HEAT for the #31 pick and future considerations. In Miami he should get plenty of chances to play big minutes at the point for the Eastern Conference champions.