The Nets know Cam Thomas is a bucket. The rookie is aware of it, too.
But each say he’s a lot extra.
“His willingness to adapt to the NBA game and prioritize making reads out of pick-and-roll where he draws a crowd and gets off it; that makes the game easier for him,” coach Steve Nash stated. “I’ve talked to him about it a lot of instances. 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, big growth for him offensively and defensively by 1) having a great attitude to improve, and 2) really caring about those aspects that we’re offering for him as growth areas. He’s turned a corner there when he’s had a great attitude and has been willing to take on board some of the teachings and the things we’re asking him to do. That’s really opened things up for him and made it seem like more variety to his game and more difficult to defend.”
That openness to teaching the previous month has been rewarded with speedy growth. And by no means was that extra evident than in Wednesday’s 21-point outing to beat the Knicks within the Garden.
After a five-point, 2 of 11 begin via 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.
But 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 truly ran some two-man recreation.
“That’s the narrative that’s out there that’s trash, saying that I can’t pass,” Thomas stated. “I could always pass, but it was just what my team needs. I have LaMarcus Aldridge in the midrange wide open, and they’re doubling me and leaving him open. Who’s not gonna pass it to him? He’s the No. 1 midrange shooter in the league. So that narrative needs to stop, I feel like.”
As his protection and playmaking have improved, it’s allowed him to get on the court docket and keep there on a veteran-laden roster.
A possible lottery choose 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 recreation towards the Wizards averaging 17.9 factors on 48.8 % taking pictures in February — the most effective by any Nets rookie since Kenyon Martin in March 2001.
“He knows how to score early already. His growth is coming along as far as knowing how to read, when he’s doubled, when to drop it off. The toughest thing as a scorer is you always can just shoot it. Now he’s learning to take this shot, pass, this time,” stated Aldridge, who famous Thomas’ self-assurance. “That’s why he has a leg up on playing well, because 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 beneath 21 — with 150 factors in a seven-game span.
“I’ve been really proud of Cam,” Nash stated. “He’s clearly turned a nook, realizing when to get off the ball, realizing it’s not about what number of pictures I stand up however how good a shot I can stand up. And he’s proven willingness and skill to go. The extra he mixes that in, the tougher it’s to learn him, the extra he’ll get open appears to be like. And he’s been excellent in attempting to work towards that.
“And defensively, he cares and he’s taking steps of pride at that end of the floor that allow him to play more. I’m really proud of him trying to take on these challenges that aren’t necessarily his identity for his career so far. It’s not easy, so I’m really proud of him. He’s developing clearly on both ends of the floor.”