Brooklyn Boro

Nets get scorched by Grizzlies

Summer League unit allows record 120 points in Las Vegas

July 14, 2022 John Torenli, Sports Editor
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Cam Thomas did his thing.

And so did fellow second-year pro Day’Ron Sharpe.

As for the rest of the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night in Las Vegas, there wasn’t much to see except a steady stream of Memphis Grizzlies scoring at will.

Thomas enhanced his candidacy for a second consecutive MVP award on the circuit with a team-high 29 points and Sharpe worked well inside again for 13 points and nine rebounds in Brooklyn’s record-tying 120-84 loss at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Thomas, Brooklyn’s initial first-round pick in 2021, went 9-of-19 from the field and 11-of-13 at the free-throw line, upping his Summer League scoring average to a circuit-leading 28.7 per contest.

Last summer, Thomas was co-MVP of the Summer League after netting 29 points per contest. He also led Brooklyn in scoring during the preseason in 2021-22.

Sharpe, the Nets’ second first-round selection in ’21, also blocked a pair of shots to give Brooklyn hope that they are already in position to bounce back quickly from the potential departures of superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie
Irving, both of whom are reportedly on the trade market this summer.

Nets forward Kessler Edwards is honing his game during the Summer League season in Las Vegas as Brooklyn reshapes its roster. AP Photo by Hakim Wright Sr.

The major fault in Brooklyn’s overall game Tuesday was a lack of defense as the Grizzlies (2-1), who never trailed and led by double figures for most of the contest, became the second Summer League entrant ever to reach 120 points, matching the 2007 Denver Nuggets.

David Duke Jr., had 12 points and Kessler Edwards added six points for the Nets (1-2), who will wrap up their summer slate Thursday night vs. Minnesota before playing a consolation game in the exhibition tournament on either Saturday or Sunday.

Thomas, Sharpe, Duke and Edwards aren’t just playing in Vegas to fill summer roster stops.
All four may play important roles in helping this franchise rebuild once Durant or Irving or both are eventually dealt away.

“These are young, young guys coming into this league, and they both have the potential to play in this league,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said of his rookie class ahead of last season.

“(Thomas and Sharpe) got to earn it and prove it on a contending team. They both may very well earn minutes but they both may not, and that doesn’t mean that we’re discouraged in any way. We want to develop these guys regardless of whether they play or don’t play.”

They are both playing plenty and playing effectively.

Whether both will be doing so come next season is more likely to be decided by general manager Sean Marks, who is waiting for the best deal to come along in anticipation of the Nets’ latest sea change since they arrived here a decade ago.

Adam Caporn, shown here at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, will be one of head coach Steve Nash’s assistants this year in Downtown Brooklyn. AP Photo by David Goldman

NOTHING BUT NET: The Nets were outrebounded by a whopping 45-27 Tuesday night and watched the Grizzlies amass 31 assists while managing only 15 themselves. … Thomas has gone 26-of-28 at the line the past two games. He went 0-for-4 from 3-point range vs. Memphis. … The Nets expanded their coaching staff last week, naming Igor Kokoškov, Adam Caporn and Trevor Hendry as assistants to Nash. Kokoškov has more than two decades of NBA coaching experience and most recently served as an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks during the 2021-22 season. Caporn, Brooklyn’s Summer League coach, previously served as head coach of the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s NBA G League affiliate. Hendry was elevated to assistant after spending four years as the Nets’ head video coordinator.

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