5 Miami Heat players making a case to be the next developmental success

The Miami Heat have achieved victory by finding diamonds in the rough and developing undrafted talent, which has turned it into a unique advantage. Here are 5 players who could be the organization's next developmental success.

Milwaukee Bucks v Miami Heat
Milwaukee Bucks v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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3. Jamal Cain

Forward Jamal Cain was not selected in the NBA draft but later joined the Miami Heat on a two-way contract for his rookie season in 2022. Despite his exposure to NBA-level play being primarily through practices and scrimmages, he impressed Miami after showcasing his skills during the Summer League and preseason games. Throughout his time in the G League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Cain played in 25 games and averaged an impressive 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He also displayed great shooting accuracy, with a field goal percentage of 55.6% and a 3-point percentage of 36.2%.

During the 2022-23 NBA season, Cain had the opportunity to participate in 18 regular season games with the Heat. He made a significant impact on the court, averaging 13.3 minutes per game and contributing 5.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 0.7 assists per game. His shooting percentages remained consistent, with 56.1% from the field and 35.0% from beyond the arc. These statistics marked a career-best for Cain, and he maintained his efficiency throughout his limited NBA experience.

As a versatile athlete, he possesses the ability to play either forward position. His athleticism allows him to capitalize on opponent mistakes and score easy baskets, as evidenced by his average of 1.3 steals per game in the G League. Additionally, Cain has been showcasing his explosive leaping ability. His time with the Skyforce has also allowed him to refine his skills as a self-creator and perimeter shooter.

Cain's versatility fills a need within the team, as Miami has a history of valuing tenacious rim rattlers and has often utilized smaller lineups at the power forward position to enhance versatility. Furthermore, his performance during his professional career thus far indicates that his athleticism and shooting range are effective at the NBA level.

However, Cain understands that his success in the NBA will heavily rely on his defensive abilities. He is focused on honing his skills to not only defend against the league's top players but also to excel within Miami's demanding system. He aims to seamlessly integrate into the team's cohesive unit, which is known for its ability to adapt and disrupt opponents.

The 6-foot-7 forward has improved his outside shooting (36.8% on 3-pointers for Sioux Falls this season). Coaches are urging him to bulk up and enhance his off-ball movement. In a system that has seen players thrive, Cain can continue to earn playing time as part of the Heat's rotation with his defensive prowess. 

“I was really encouraged by his improvement this year,” coach Spoelstra said to the media regarding Cain before the first round of the playoffs last season. “He has a great spirit about him. “Every single day he comes in with a smile on his face. He loves to work. He loves to compete.”