While the Heat are still trying to find the correct formula to please the Trail Blazers into trading superstar Damian Lillard, they can rest assured that they have a young core good enough to compete in another succesful playoff run just like this past campaign.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra knows he can count on players like sophomore Jamal Cain, as he expects him to have a bigger role this upcoming NBA season.
“I was really encouraged by his improvement this year,” said head coach Erik Spoelstra. “He has great spirit about him. “Every single day he comes in with a smile on his face. He loves to work. He loves to compete.”
And this is precisely what the second-year professional displayed during this past Summer League.
Jamal Cain in 6 games for the Miami Heat this summer:
15.5 PPG4.8 REB52/38/88%
Is a standard contract for Jamal coming in the future? pic.twitter.com/iEfqVcADHx
— Playbook Sports (@PlaybookSN) July 18, 2023
“This is Jamal Cain, man,” center star Bam Adebayo said at the beginning of last season in October. “Realize who this is. This is Jamal Cain. He’s going to be in the league for a long time. This is my dawg, man.”
The big man’s comments came after the youngster produced 15 points and 11 rebounds in a preseason match against the Brooklyn Nets. The six-foot-seven foward inked a two-way contract after a strong Summer League last year.
Even though he only participated in 18 regular season contests with Miami last season, he had a couple of highlights worth remembering. His best display came against the Orlando Magic on April 9th, as he scored 18 points on a 6-7 shooting and a perfect 4-4 from range.
Cain is well aware on what aspects of the game he should focus on improving while he keeps competing this offseason
Ever since he landed in Miami, the player hasn’t stopped competing. In his second Summer League spell with the team he played 5 games and averaged 15.5 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 51.5% from the floor, 38.1% from beyond the arc, and 88.2% from the line.
However, he knows what he needs to improve to be taken into consideration by coach Spoelstra for the upcoming campaign. “I really want to hone in on the defensive end,” Cain said. “So I want to guard the best players. I want to use my quickness and athleticism to try to be a disruptor. And I want to work on my body and get stronger.”
The Heat Summer League coach Caron Butler also recognized his development after a bit under a year since he first signed for the club.
“When he was in the G-League, he had the ball in his hand a lot, isolation stuff, a lot of dribbles,” he noted. “But here, one one-thousand, two one-thousand, getting off of it, playing off better players. He’s learned so much. And he understands where he needs to be from a spacing standpoint on the floor.”
Now we can only wait and see if the 24-year-old will earn his way into a standard contract with the South Beach club, as we’ve all witnessed his potential.
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