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It's been an up-and-down season for Heat guard Daequan Cook.

Cook, the 21st pick in the 2007 draft, quickly got a chance to play off the bench for Pat Riley. In the first 12 games, the Ohio State product averaged 10.6 points in about 21 minutes, but the Heat struggled to a 2-10 start. Cook continued to see playing time, albeit sporadically, until Feb. 27, when he was assigned to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League for a three-game stint.

But now, with NBA-worst Miami playing out the string and Dwyane Wade shelved for the rest of the season with a knee injury, Cook has returned to the Heat as a starter.

"These are important games for him," assistant coach Ron Rothsteintold the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "He has shown the ability to compete at a pretty high level in this league. There's a lack of consistency, but he's 20 years old."

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In five games since his return, Cook has averaged 10.8 points in 37.8 minutes. He has been inconsistent from the floor, hitting just 23-of-62 attempts (37.1 percent). Still, the potential is evident to the Heat.

"If we think he's going to be the finished product next year, we're kidding ourselves," Rothstein said of Cook, who is 11th among rookies in scoring and third in three-pointers. "But there's big upside there, potentially a very bright future."

(Send comments, complaints or hype for your favorite rookie to Drew Packham at