Miami Heat forward Jamal Cain revealed where he’s improved this offseason as he attempts to make the roster in the 2023-24 season.
“I feel like I always have something to prove,” Cain said. “So each year, each month, each day I feel like I have something to prove, not only to the organization, but to myself.
“I’m just taking it a day at a time. I still have a lot of improvement to do and a lot of things to get better at. So making sure with the opportunities to get better, I’m making sure I capitalize on those.”
The Heat could use a player like Cain on the roster, especially if they make a trade for Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
“I feel like I’ve improved a lot on my on-ball defense and being able to guard bigger players and holding my ground,” he said. “And on offense I think I’ve done a better job with my shot selection, being a better shooter and just being a better decision maker with the ball. And, again, always wanted to be stronger, because I’m not the biggest guy.”
A move for Lillard could deplete some of Miami’s depth this offseason, and the team already lost two key rotation players from last season’s team in Max Strus (sign-and-trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers) and Gabe Vincent (signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency).
If the Heat have to move any of Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic or Jaime Jaquez Jr. (or a combination of those players) in a Lillard deal, there will be a serious need for wing and frontcourt help on the roster.
Cain appeared in 18 games for the Heat last season and made a solid impact when he was on the floor.
The young forward played 13.3 minutes per game for the Heat in the 2022-23 season and put up 5.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game while shooting 56.1 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc.
The Oakland University and Marquette University product showcased that he can score the ball at a high level in his final collegiate season in the 2021-22 campaign with Oakland.
That season, Cain averaged 19.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He was named the Horizon League’s Player of the Year in the process.
If Cain can guard bigger players in the 2023-24 season, it could make him a viable option alongside Bam Adebayo for the Heat.