In Brooklyn, a new age is emerging, but it is yet too early to tell what kind of era it will be. The Irving-Harden-Durant experiment for the Nets failed as soon as it was attempted; Irving is now reportedly content—for the time being, at least—in Dallas, Harden is content wherever he is, and Durant is on another elite team.
As a result, their squad for the 2023–24 season is very different from what it was at the start of the previous season. Although their current roster is far below what they have had in the last several years in terms of talent, it is still an intriguing group of players who, if everything clicks, have the potential to make a competitive squad.
Along with the excellent Mikal Bridges, Nic Claxton’s ongoing progress, and a wealth of depth that includes players like Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale, both of whom could come off the bench, Ben Simmons’ successful return would undoubtedly assist.
However, this Nets club, like so many others, would benefit from a little more offensive punch, and if given the chance, there is one player who is more than capable of giving them just that.
Why Cam Thomas has potential to be a lethal player for the Nets in the NBA
Cam Thomas hasn’t exactly produced numbers that pop off the page in his two NBA seasons. He averaged 8.5 points on 43.3% shooting in roughly 17 minutes during his rookie year. In the next season, he somewhat improved to 10.6 points on 44.1% shooting in roughly the same amount of minutes. However, those figures bely this man’s extraordinary potential.
Who could forget his incredible scoring streak from February of the previous season? He had a wild first few months of the season, scoring 44 points in 29 minutes on 16-23 shooting against the Wizards, after showing flashes of his microwave scoring skills in a few games and playing little to nothing in many others.
Two days later, he played 38 minutes and scored 47 goals, as if to confirm it wasn’t an exception. As expected, our NBA Expert Picks noted he delivered once more the next day, scoring 43 points against the Suns to cap off an incredibly impressive few days of basketball from a player who had previously hardly been in the rotation.
Naturally, he lost steam after that and his place in that rotation started to look a little more precarious as a few Nets returned. That being said, his propensity to score made sure he was a constant threat, as evidenced by his 46 points in the regular season finale. Typical of his season, though, he went on to provide just 15 minutes for six points in the Nets’ four postseason games.
Thomas was the classic all-or-nothing player last season, but his excellent performances were remarkable, and it’s important to keep in mind that he is still only 21 years old. Thomas is a one-dimensional player in many respects. Not in terms of scoring, as he can do it pretty much anyway he pleases, but he won’t provide much more at this stage of his career.
However, the stark contrast between his greatest and worst performances makes him a prime contender for a breakthrough year. There’s a good chance he plays this season like he did the last one, coming off the bench and either not making an impact right away and seeing little action, or getting hot and appearing to be the best player on the court.
However, it’s clear that he has room to progress in his third season. If given more opportunities and able to contribute more consistently, Cam Thomas has the potential to be an extremely dangerous player in the NBA. 2023–24 might be a season of great progress for him.