Norris Cole was fearless. Fans can sense that and love it.
Cole became the new fan favorite (behind the big 3) in Miami by scoring 14 fourth-quarter points to stave off a Boston comeback and keep the Heat perfect on the young season. Cole, the rookie out of Cleveland State, was the man knocking down the shots over the Boston zone with the game on the line.
Let’s be clear — Cole got his shots because Boston played good defense against the Heat players you have to stop. Make LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh give up the ball. Make someone else beat you.
Norris Cole beat them. And became a cult hero in the process.
Cole was a sleeper in the draft, playing at a small school like Cleveland State he was a guy who did everything pretty well but was not an elite NBA athlete, not a guy who could create shots at the NBA level.
But he landed in Miami, where he doesn’t have to — he just has to knock down the chances he gets. Not freeze up in the moment. Catch and shoot, or when the hole is there drive. That’s what he did. Watch the highlights.
Cole was fearless in the moment. He has some swagger. Fans gravitate toward that. I’m not sure you want him taking more shots than Bosh and Wade many nights (like he did against Boston), but when he’s hot let him shoot.
Cole is now a cult hero in Miami, and if he can just keep playing smart like this his role will grow. The Heat already have Mario Chalmers who does not shy away from big moments, and Mike Miller can knock down shots blindfolded. That would be three guys the Heat can lean on any given night to be support to the big three.
Other teams are going to keep forcing someone else to beat them. Cole may be happy to oblige.
GM Bob Myers: Steve Kerr can coach Warriors ‘as long as he wants’
Of course, health is the big catch. Kerr has missed significant time the last two years due to complications from back surgery. He’s looking forward to a long career, but those headaches and pains aren’t far in the rearview mirror.
Kerr clearly knows how to win with this super team, not necessarily as easy of a task as it appears. He has more than earned the right to stay on the bench for the Warriors’ next iteration, whenever that comes.
Hotshot coaches can fade quickly, but Kerr has established an unprecedented amount of goodwill so quickly. Hopefully, he stays healthy enough to take up Myers on his pledge.
Report: NBA not headed toward 1-16 playoff seeding
Silver is well-intentioned on this issue, and open-minded, too—as he is on most agenda items that could, in theory, make the league better. But despite his willingness to discuss postseason reformatting, multiple people familiar with league discussions say it’s not anywhere near the top of the agenda.
After its analysis of the issue in ’15, the league concluded that, for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t sensible to change the playoff format. The two key factors, according to league sources, were 1) travel; and 2) a belief among league officials that conference imbalance was a temporary trend that would correct itself, as it typically has in the past.
For playoff qualification to truly be fair, teams would have to play a balanced schedule. As is, teams play teams in their own conference 52 times and teams from the other conference 30 times.
More 10 p.m. starts on the East Coast and 4 p.m. starts on the West Coast would hurt TV ratings.
Plus, as relative conference strength exists now and has existed for several years, 1-16 playoff seeding would make it harder for bigger Eastern Conference markets and easier for smaller Western Conference markets to qualify for the postseason.
Quality of competition matters, and there would be value in the NBA building a playoff field of its 16 best teams. But follow the money. There isn’t nearly enough urgency with this issue to overcome the direct financial setbacks reform would cause.
Even if Green misses a little time, the Warriors should be fine. They can cruise until playoffs – maybe even a round or two into the playoffs.
Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are Golden State’s best players, but Green’s defense is so important, especially in small-ball lineups with him at center. The Warriors led Houston by 13 when Green left the game and then couldn’t get enough fourth-quarter stops in a one-point loss.
Golden State values rest and built a supporting cast around its stars to follow through. If Green misses tomorrow’s game against the Pelicans or any beyond, Jordan Bell, David West, Kevon Looney and Omri Casspi could all see bigger roles.
Report: Grizzlies starting power forward JaMychal Green out several weeks
The supporting cast looks rickety around Mike Conley and Marc Gasol unless second-rounder Dillon Brooks (19 points on 7-of-13 shooting +17 against New Orleans) keeps humming. And maybe even still then.
Green’s injury opens the door for bigger roles for Jarell Martin and maybe Parsons (gulp).