The Nets know Cam Thomas is a bucket. The rookie is aware of it, too.
However each say he’s a lot extra.
“His willingness to adapt to the NBA sport and prioritize making reads out of pick-and-roll the place he attracts a crowd and will get off it; that makes the sport simpler for him,” coach Steve Nash stated. “I’ve talked to him about it quite a few occasions. He’s actually improved at it, and the areas the place he could make enchancment and we’ve requested him to make enhancements, he’s been very prepared the final three or 4 weeks.
“So, huge development for him offensively and defensively by 1) having an incredible angle to enhance, and a couple of) actually caring about these features that we’re providing for him as development areas. He’s turned a nook there when he’s had an incredible angle and has been prepared to tackle board a few of the teachings and the issues we’re asking him to do. That’s actually opened issues up for him and made it appear to be extra selection to his sport and harder to defend.”
That openness to teaching the previous month has been rewarded with speedy improvement. And by no means was that extra evident than in Wednesday’s 21-point outing to beat the Knicks in the Garden.
After a five-point, 2 of 11 begin by three quarters, Thomas poured in 16 within the fourth — together with a dagger 3-pointer with seven seconds left. His teammates showered him with water within the victorious customer’s locker room afterwards.
“He’s a bucket,” Seth Curry stated.
However greater than that. Thomas additionally grabbed 4 rebounds, performed the purpose down the stretch and handed out a few assists — one to LaMarcus Aldridge, with whom he really ran some two-man sport.
“That’s the narrative that’s on the market that’s trash, saying that I can’t move,” Thomas stated. “I might all the time move, but it surely was simply what my staff wants. I’ve LaMarcus Aldridge within the midrange broad open, and so they’re doubling me and leaving him open. Who’s not gonna move it to him? He’s the No. 1 midrange shooter within the league. In order that narrative must cease, I really feel like.”
As his protection and playmaking have improved, it’s allowed him to get on the courtroom and keep there on a veteran-laden roster.
A possible lottery decide who fell to Brooklyn at No. 27 within the 2021 NBA Draft, Thomas was the top-scoring rookie within the NBA this month and entered Thursday’s sport towards the Wizards averaging 17.9 factors on 48.8 p.c taking pictures in February — the most effective by any Nets rookie since Kenyon Martin in March 2001.
“He is aware of how you can rating early already. His development is coming alongside so far as figuring out how you can learn, when he’s doubled, when to drop it off. The hardest factor as a scorer is you all the time can simply shoot it. Now he’s studying to take this shot, move, this time,” stated Aldridge, who famous Thomas’ self-assurance. “That’s why he has a leg up on enjoying nicely, as a result of he already believes in himself.”
That confidence has been hovering, averaging 21.6 factors, 3.9 boards, 2.9 assists and a steal in his previous seven coming into Thursday. He joined Cade Cunningham and Franz Wagner as the one rookies this season — and Cliff Robinson and Bernard King as the one Nets below 21 — with 150 factors in a seven-game span.
“I’ve been actually pleased with Cam,” Nash stated. “He’s clearly turned a nook, figuring out when to get off the ball, figuring out it’s not about what number of photographs I stand up however how good a shot I can stand up. And he’s proven willingness and skill to move. The extra he mixes that in, the harder it’s to learn him, the extra he’ll get open seems to be. And he’s been excellent in attempting to work towards that.
“And defensively, he cares and he’s taking steps of delight at that finish of the ground that enable him to play extra. I’m actually pleased with him attempting to tackle these challenges that aren’t essentially his id for his profession to this point. It’s not straightforward, so I’m actually pleased with him. He’s growing clearly on each ends of the ground.”