Norris Cole Ready to Make An Impact
It was almost like Norris Cole didn’t have an offseason.
Eight days after the Miami Heat won the NBA title, Cole was in the gym working out twice daily. A strong dedication to improving is why Cole has been one of the early surprises of training camp.
“He’s been one of the highlights of the camp so far just in terms of how much he’s improved,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s arguably the most improved player right now. It shouldn’t be a surprise to any one of us. He had a terrific summer in terms of commitment.”
Spoelstra said he challenged Cole to improve his shooting and play-making ability. That was the reasoning behind Cole traveling with the team to Las Vegas for the NBA Summer League, an event usually reserved for rookies and journeymen.
The Heat are already starting to see the benefits from the strong summer. Cole said he spent the offseason in Miami instead of returning home to Dayton, Ohio so he could focus on basketball. He realized playing time will be tougher to come by with the Heat signing Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.
The emergence of point guard Mario Chalmers also provided motivation for Cole.
“Summer league was a big part, showing that I can run the team and be a floor general, make people better,” Cole said. “Just reps, coming in here putting in the time going through each drill, the ball-handling drills, the passing drills, the shooting drills. Doing it twice a day, you expect good results.”
The goal is for Cole to avoid late-season slump like he endured as a rookie. After starting strong, he faded once the playoffs began. Cole averaged just 1.8 points in the postseason after averaging 6.8 in the regular season.