Nets’ Thomas remains hotter than July
Second-year guard torches Philly in Summer League action
There’s just no stopping Brooklyn Nets guard Cam Thomas.
At least not during Summer League action.
The second-year sharpshooter scored 26 points and handed out seven assists Sunday to lift the Nets to a 91-84 exhibition victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Thomas, who led the Summer League in scoring a season ago and was named co-MVP of the circuit, went 5-of-17 from the floor but knocked down all 15 of his free throws to lead Brooklyn (1-1) to its first win after the Nets had suffered a 94-90 defeat to Milwaukee last Friday.
“Yeah, I just want to come on here and show that [I] could do it,” Thomas said of the highest assist total of his budding career. “It’s what they see, and whatever they see how good I am at it. I think I’m really good at it. But there’s always something.”
Backcourt mate David Duke Jr. added 21 points and Day’Ron Sharpe had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets, who were scheduled to take on Memphis Tuesday night before Thursday’s game vs. Minnesota.
Thomas, who could play a much larger role in the Brooklyn rotation if superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving get traded, isn’t worried about leading the Summer League in scoring again.
He poured in 31 points vs. the Bucks Friday and entered the NBA after pacing the Southeastern Conference in scoring, but knows these summer contests are simply an early warmup for the 82-game regular season and playoffs.
If, of course, the Nets are fortunate enough to qualify for the postseason in 2022-23 considering their potential roster upheaval in the months to come.
“Just improving on what I can, really just improve on what they want to work on in the offseason,” Thomas told the New York Post Sunday.
“I got MVP last year so that’s not a goal or anything. If I happen to get it this year, it’d be a blessing. But I’m not really worried about the scoring, stats, MVP. I’m just worried about working on what they want me to work on so I get on the floor more in the regular season.”
Cassius Winston scored 16 points and Charlie Brown Jr., added 14 for the Sixers (0-2), who remained winless heading into Wednesday’s Summer League game vs. Miami.
As for the Nets, they are still hoping that their first-round pick of a season ago can become a better all-around player, even though its more than obvious by now that scoring is Thomas’ greatest strength.
“Not a mandate: Just part of every young player’s growth. Cam is an elite scorer. He’s really bought into his growth as a decision-maker, and he showed that,” Brooklyn summer league coach Adam Caporn said.
“Showed it last game, too, but reflected in the game and he’s getting better every game. And did what he does in terms of leading us in the fourth quarter and in stretches, still scoring. I see him being an elite pick-and-roll player as time goes on. He can find the roll, throw lob passes, see the floor and is so strong holding on the ball and in the key lane in tight spaces. That’s a good recipe.”
NOTHING BUT NET: Kessler Edwards had 10 points and three rebounds vs. Philadelphia on Sunday. Duke had 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting against Milwaukee on Friday. … The Nets made it official over the weekend, inking veteran guard Patty Mills to a multi-year deal. As per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed though reports indicate that he signed for two years and $14.5 million. “Patty is an integral part of what we do both on and off the court, and an important veteran presence in our locker room,” said Nets general manager Sean Marks. “Coming off one of his best seasons as a pro, we’re thrilled for Patty to return to the Nets.” … Thomas averaged 27 points per game in Vegas last summer.
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