Can Cam Thomas take over for Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn?


One man’s trash being one other man’s treasure has by no means meant greater than it has in regard to Brooklyn Nets combo guard Cam Thomas. Sooner or later after Irving threw the Nets into the dumpster bin and demanded a commerce, he sat because of “calf soreness,” which has grow to be the NBA’s go-to analysis for wholesome gamers who want the evening off for unspecified causes. In his stead, the Nets turned to a brand new bucket service provider in Thomas, whose 44 factors in solely 23 pictures had been vital to a depleted Nets workforce’s 125-123 comeback win over the Washington Wizards.

Unsurprisingly, Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reported Sunday morning that the Nets will sideline Irving indefinitely as they scrape the underside of the barrel for suitors who can present pennies on the greenback for Irving by the Feb. 9 commerce deadline. Within the meantime, with Durant rehabbing, Irving souring on the commerce block and the cylinder giving Simmons trypophobia, the Nets lineup has pictures that have to be redistributed and Thomas is seizing the second.

Thomas’ efficiency towards the Wizards was a reminder of why the Nets drafted the then-LSU freshman within the first spherical of the 2021 Draft. Thomas’ credentials as a preternatural bucket-getter are undisputed. As a highschool junior, he walked out of Nike’s EYBL circuit as their Offensive Participant of the 12 months, then led all freshmen in scoring throughout his freshman 12 months at LSU.

An undervalued weapon

Thomas’ confidence in his personal talents hasn’t at all times been matched by his place on the Nets hierarchy. Thomas has felt underutilized on the Nets prior to now, going as far as to vary his Instagram bio to #FreeCT after Steve Nash was canned in early November. Thomas’ infamous eye-roll on the mere point out of Nash’s feedback pertaining to him on the lookout for teammates throughout a summer season league postgame interview was the canary within the coal mine.

Thomas hasn’t earned his ticket off the bench yet, but a few repeat performances of what he did on Sunday may leave the Nets without a choice. At 6-foot-4, Thomas has good size, but he can lose focus on defense, a concern for a team that’s re-committed itself to the defensive end since Vaughn took over from Nash. At one point in Saturday’s Wizards win, Vaughn had to give Thomas defensive changes throughout a first-quarter timeout, but when he can pour in buckets on the prolific price he has the propensity to showcase once in a while, Brooklyn might must discover a method to make it work.

Edmond Sumner held down Irving’s common spot within the lineup by posting his personal career-high 29 factors, however Thomas’ competitors for Irving’s minutes is a profession reserve who tore his Achilles tendon simply 17 months in the past. Thomas’ 5 assists on Saturday had been a complement to his case for a beginning function after he developed a fame for being a one-dimensional, ball-dominant guard who wore the leather-based out on the lookout for his personal shot. His 40 p.c discipline objective proportion and 1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio throughout his lone season at LSU backed up these critiques.

Irving’s absence is one other reminder of the commerce deadline’s butterfly results. The subtraction of a significant roster piece can create a gap for a younger participant to lastly unfold his wings. Over on the Wizards’ frontcourt, Deni Avdija is flourishing for the primary time since he was drafted ninth general in 2020. Placing apart a horrendous capturing evening on the primary half of Washington’s back-to-back, Avdija has logged profession highs in factors twice since Rui Hachimura was traded to the Lakers on Jan. 24. The following few weeks are going to be rife with roster reconfigurations throughout the league because the annual commerce deadline reset begins.

In the meantime, Thomas has a number of video games left to make a push for extra minutes, earlier than a attainable deadline commerce for Russell Westbrook crowds the backcourt rotation. Thomas referred to as Irving his “brother” in his postgame presser, but when he will get extra alternatives, he gained’t thoughts the advantages that stem from his bro’s absence.

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