Why Norris Cole Will Eventually Replace Mario Chalmers in Miami Heat Starting Lineup

Joe Camporeale- USA Today Sports

The Miami Heat have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA; this is more of a statement than a question. With multiple first-round picks and All-Stars sharing the same roster, the Heat have the luxury of rotating players in and out of the starting lineup in order to get a gauge for which lineup is the most effective.

Recently, Mario Chalmers has been out with an Achilles injury which has led to Norris Cole taking over the starting point guard position in the meantime. Cole might not know it yet, but his drastically improved play might be enough to knock Chalmers out of the starting lineup. In his time starting this season, Cole is averaging 10.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 0.86 steals. Outside of rebounding (Chalmers has the advantage due to height), Cole is averaging higher numbers than Chalmers in every other statistical category.

The biggest difference between the two young guards is the field goal percentage. With the experience that Chalmers has over Cole in the league, you would think the Chalmers would be shooting at a higher mark — but he isn’t. Chalmers is shooting just 44 percent from the field this season on average, and Cole is shooting 48 percent. The four-percent difference might not seem like much, but considering Cole shot just 41 percent the season before, this is a huge leap for the third-year guard.

Cole brings a level of tenacity and aggression to the Heat that would be extremely beneficial if inserted into the starting lineup. When Chalmers comes back from his Achilles injury he will undoubtedly become the starter again over Cole, but if the Heat continue to lose games, don’t be surprised if coach Erik Spoelstra shakes up the starting lineup and Cole is the starting point guard.

Jared Doyle is a Miami Heat writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @outofboundsjay, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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  • Masood Abdul-Haqq

    This article is an embarrassment for rant sports. I recently became familiar with the site and have made an effort to watch its development, but for you to be someone considered to be an authority on the Miami Heat, your grasp of what makes the team successful is laughable. First of all, none of the “facts” that you cited are actually facts.

    To summarize your argument, you’re saying that a two time champion starter who also hit the most clutch collegiate shot since Christian Laettner should be replaced by his back up because his backup is a better shooter and brings more intensity, which I assume means defensive. Well, the numbers disagree. When you consider that the Heat have “kept losing” only since Chalmers has been sidelined, you have defeated your own argument. You say that Chalmers only averages more rebounds than Cole because he’s taller. The problem with that argument is that Chalmers is listed at 6’1 and Cole 6’2. So… yeah.

    The advanced stats do you no favors either. Chalmers’ true shooting percentage is .576 to Cole’s .563. I’m tempted to explain what true shooting percentage is, but I won’t. To continue, Chalmers’ PER is 15.2 to Cole’s 11.1. Chalmers also holds sizable advantages over Cole in offensive and defensive win shares, steals, assists, and assist to turnover ratio. Intangibly speaking, Chalmers is not intimidated by the big three and does not shy away from holding them accountable. It’s highly unlikely that Cole could take on the same role, considering his Ohio upbringing (re: LeBron idolization) and lack of D1 collegiate credentials.

    Chalmers’ shooting range from anywhere on the arch also opens passing and driving lanes for James and Wade and creates difficulty in the pick and roll game, where defenders would happily go under a screen when it’s Cole with the ball.

    Norris Cole is a fine back up point guard in the NBA. But As long as Mario Chalmers is in a Heat uniform, he will remain just that for the many reasons above. The more likely scenario is that Cole plays well enough to price himself out of the Heat’s range and signs somewhere that his multiple championship rings will net him a starting job.

  • Victor Montequin

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Cole. BUT, the Heat have lost 3 straight games with Cole as the starter!! It appears we miss the presence of Chalmers a whole lot more than most people assumed we would!