Cam Thomas could fill (some of) the Nets’ Kyrie Irving void

Cam Thomas

Cam Thomas
Photo: AP

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure has never meant more than to Brooklyn Nets combo guard Cam Thomas. One day later Irving pitched the Nets into the trash can and demanded a trade, sitting out because of “calf soreness,” the NBA’s most commonly used diagnosis for healthy players who need the night off for unspecified reasons. Instead, the Nets turned to a new dealer in Thomas, whose 44 points on just 23 shots were critical in a depleted Nets team’s 125-123 comeback win over the Washington Wizards.

Not surprisingly Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report He reported Sunday morning that the Nets will sideline Irving indefinitely as they scrape the bottom of the barrel for suitors who can pay pennies for Irving by the Feb. 9 trade deadline. Meanwhile, Durant’s rehab, Irving’s sourness on the trade block and Simmons’ trypophobia over the top hat, the Nets’ lineup has shots that need to be redistributed, and Thomas is seizing the moment.

Thomas’ performance against the Wizards was a reminder of why the Nets drafted the then-LSU freshman in the first round of the 2021 draft. Thomas’ credentials as a supernatural bucket writer are undisputed. He came out of the Nike EYBL Offensive Player of the Year as a high schooler, then led all freshmen in scoring his first year at LSU.

An underrated weapon

Thomas’ confidence in his own abilities didn’t always match his position in the Nets’ hierarchy. Thomas has previously felt underutilized by the Nets, going so far as to change his Instagram bio to #FreeCT after Steve Nash was drafted in early November. Thomas’ infamous eyoucoil At the mere mention of Nash commenter that he was looking for teammates during an interview after the summer championship, he was the canary in the coal mine.

Thomas has yet to punch his ticket off the bench, but some of his recurring appearances could leave the Nets with no choice for Sunday’s action. The 6-foot-1 Thomas has good build but could lose his focus on defense, a concern for a team that has recommitted to the defensive end since Vaughn took over for Nash. At one point in Saturday’s win over the Wizards, Vaughn had to hand off to Thomas defensive adjustments during a first-quarter timeout, but if he can make buckets at the prolific rate he occasionally displays, Brooklyn should find a way to make it work.

Edmond Sumner held off Irving’s usual spot in the lineup by posting a career-high 29 points, but Thomas’ competition for minutes is career reserve Irving, who tore his Achilles tendon just 17 months ago. Thomas’ five assists on Saturday complemented the starting role after earning a reputation as a one-dimensional, ball-dominant guard who wore the leather in search of his own shot. His 40 percent field goal percentage and 1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in his lone season at LSU backed up those criticisms.

Irving’s absence is yet another reminder of the butterfly effects of the trade deadline. Being pulled from the main roster could be an opportunity for a young player to finally spread his wings. It’s over with wizards In the frontcourt, Deni Avdija is flourishing for the first time since being drafted ninth overall in 2020. Aside from a terrible shooting night in the first half of Washington’s backcourt, Av.diyes, he has scored twice in his career since Rui Hachimura was traded to the Lakers on January 24th. The next few weeks around the league are rife with roster realignments as the annual trade deadline begins to reset.

Meanwhile, Thomas has a few more games to push for minutes before Russell Westbrook’s potential trade at the deadline shakes up the rotation on the court. Thomas called Irving his “brother” in the postgame presser, but given more opportunities, he won’t mind taking advantage of his brother’s absence.


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