With the shot clock running down in the sudden death second overtime and the Wizards Corey Kispert guarding him tightly, Cam Thomas momentarily lost his handle, quickly recovered, spun and launched a 28-foot one-legged runner from the left wing...
Swish, splash, game! Nets win!
Then as he turned and walked away, the 19-year-old stared at the ref whose hands were still raised in the 3-point signal, and said, in a simple statement of joy and confidence, “I do this!”
Yes. He. Does.
He didn’t stop there either. In a post-game interview with ESPN’s Monica McNutt, he was ready. “That’s what big time players do,” said. Correct again!
For the second game in two days, the teenager from Chesapeake, Va., was the star of a come-from-behind victory in the NBA Summer League. On Wednesday, he scored nine points in the last 2:45 as the Nets beat the Bucks. But that was nothing compared to Thursday’s heroics.
After scoring 15 points in the first three quarters, he put up 16 in the fourth, the first overtime and the second, sudden death, OT. At the end of each, it was all on him. He scored five points in the last 1:41 in the fourth quarter but missed a 27-footer as time ran out.
Then, at the end of the first overtime, it was Cam Show again, except this time, he connected on a game-tying three with :06.9 left. After a desperation shot by the Wizards Xavier Rahan-Mayes, it was on to sudden death. First team that scores wins. Washington got the first shot, but Rahan-Mayes missed a 19-footer, setting up Thomas’ star turn.
“For the winning basket it was just iso, like Dyckman, just one-on-one, beat your man. I lost the ball. I seen the clock, I seen it was at 02.25 when I looked at it, so I was like, ‘I’ve gotta hurry up and get a shot off,” said a smiling Thomas. “I went to shot that I always make and I always work on, the one-legged three. As soon as it left my hands I knew it was good.”
His summer league head coach, Nets assistant Jordan Ott, described him ... and the shot.
“You can see him step by step by step and a big jump,” said Ott. “Unbelievable down the stretch the shots he hit. He just, basically, iso situation was able to get to a spot even the last one he lost the wall was able to be aware enough. I think he looked at the clock on the far end to be smart enough to look at the clock and for him to know he didn’t have much time and get it off.”
Thomas, he said, was an “ultimate gamer, young guy, finds a way often.”
Ott also won the praise of Thomas,
“Coach drew up the first play, it was a great play,” said Thomas of the shot that tied the game at the end of the first OT. “Drew it up for me to get it. It was supposed to be a catch and shoot because we expected them to foul. They didn’t foul so it was basically a one-on-one again. Had the one-on-one, did the step-back, my go-to move. It went in.”
As for his progress, Thomas thinks he’s getting there.
“I’m just trying to learn on the fly,” said Thomas. “I’m basically learning on the job really because we only had three or four practices, two live days going against each other five-on-five. I’m basically learning on the job really. I think I’m doing real good. My progress has been great.”
Hard to argue. Thomas is now averaging 24.0 points a game, which as of Thursday night was the best among the 2021 Draft class.
In addition to the LSU product, Kessler Edwards, the Nets 44th pick, looked good in his first extended minutes, scoring 14 points on 50 percent shooting, grabbing nine boards, blocking two shots and playing solid D against Kispert, the Wizards’ lottery pick, in 31 minutes.
“Yeah I just take pride in being a great defensive player and being able to guard multiple positions,” said Edwards. “That’s going to be my role in this league, especially with this team with all the superstars that we have. So just doing what the coaches are telling me, knocking down open shots, playing great defense is the main thing.”
Day’Ron Sharpe played another workmanlike game, grabbing 12 boards including six on the offensive end, and scoring four. Meanwhile, Alex Schiffer of The Athletic reports that the Nets have rescinded their $1.49 million qualifying offer to Reggie Perry, making him an unrestricted free agent.
- Cam Thomas’ big-shot skills on display in Nets’ thrilling summer league win - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ Cam Thomas hits Summer League game-winner: “Like Dyckman, just 1-on-1: Beat your man.” - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- The Nets now need Kyle Korver to be the copy machine they traded him for - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- BROOKLYN NETS SUMMER LEAGUE: CAM THOMAS IS CLUTCH IN WIN OVER WASHINGTON - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets