LAS VEGAS — Little over every week in the past, the Nets drafted probably the most prolific freshman scorers in a technology. Monday, he’ll get his first probability to attain on professionals, when Cam Thomas and the Nets tip off summer season league.
“I really feel just like the development for me goes up, as a result of I really feel like I get higher daily. So, simply can’t wait. Can’t wait to play [Monday],” Thomas advised The Submit after Sunday’s apply, the group’s final earlier than dealing with Memphis on Monday.
Thomas, the ninth-ranked prospect on Bleacher Report’s Huge Board, fell to the Nets at No. 27. Regardless of having the Huge 3, they snapped up the LSU guard.
The 19-year-old confirmed some flashes of his offensive skill over his first 4 skilled practices, however Monday he’ll get a check towards defenders sporting a distinct uniform.
“Cam, his skill to create his personal shot is clear at this stage. He’s artful, he’s bought a bunch of fakes, he’ll have the ability to draw fouls,” Nets summer season league coach Jordan Ott advised The Submit. “Clearly a very good aggressive scorer. You’re capable of see it increasingly more every day. He’s began to really feel extra comfy on daily basis.”
Thomas was the primary freshman to steer the SEC in scoring since 1989. And he joined Kevin Durant, Trae Younger, Michael Beasley and Markelle Fultz as the one main school freshmen to common not less than 23 factors since 1992-93.
Most encouraging, Thomas has proven a penchant for elevating his recreation to the extent of his foes. He’s simply the third freshman to drop 57 factors by his first two NCAA tourney video games. The others? Durant and Zion Williamson.
Granted, his effectivity (32.5 p.c from 3) was hindered by his shot choice.
Whereas Thomas mentioned he’ll get much more open appears taking part in alongside superstars just like the Huge 3 than he ever did in school, the process-oriented perfectionist is aware of that shot choice should enhance, beginning this week in Las Vegas.
“At 19 years previous, you possibly can rating the basketball like that, being that expert you possibly can inform he’s put a while within the gymnasium. He’s enterprise,” mentioned Ott. “He’s extra of a quiet persona; however that’s as a result of he’s right here for basketball.
“He’s very partaking, requested nice questions, very curious on what we do in Brooklyn. … He’s right here for the fitting causes and you’ll inform instantly.”
These sort of enhancements are what summer season league is for, and Thomas is making the most of the time by being a sponge, absorbing information from the likes of Brandon Knight.
“I’m the brand new man right here. Brandon Knight — for him being the No. 8 decide, the expertise he’s had — he’s achieved an ideal job taking me underneath his wing, and I respect him for that. That’s my man,” Thomas mentioned. “So simply comfortable to have someone with that a lot expertise with us.”
At 29 with eight professional seasons underneath his belt, Knight has been passing that have on to Thomas. He’s additionally suitably impressed with the rookie’s scoring contact.
“Cam, you already know he can rating even on this setting. You understand he can rating all the time,” Knight mentioned. “Cam hit me with some questions, too; in order that was good. I’m going to speak to him for a little bit bit. … I wish to make these children higher. I wish to assist them be higher.”
Thomas has a businesslike strategy that belies his age. A part of that comes from his single mom Leslie, an Military vet who instilled self-discipline. A lot is from having watched the late Kobe Bryant, and making an attempt to emulate his Mamba Mentality.
“I actually bought that from Kobe, simply watching how severe he was and the way he took his craft very significantly. When my mother noticed that I wished to play very significantly, she stayed on me and stored me targeted,” Thomas mentioned. “So I actually bought that from Kobe, simply all-business, lock in. Do your work first. … Perfection is all that.”