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Cam Thomas finishes Summer League top scorer among rookies, Nets fall to Raptors, 86-72

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Brooklyn Nets v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Summer League is a wrap.

Despite dropping their consolation game to the Raptors, 86-72, and ending with an overall record of 3-2, Brooklyn left Las Vegas feeling good and why not?

Cam Thomas, the Nets’ 27th pick in the 2021 Draft, had a historic run with Brooklyn. Thomas proved he was one of the best scorers in his draft class and an early favorite as the steal of the draft.

Thomas, who sat out during Brooklyn’s consolation game loss against Toronto Tuesday, averaged 27.0 points across four games to become the top scorer in the Summer League. He also ranks third all-time amongst NBA rookies. The 19-year-old edged out Jalen Green (23.0 PPG) and Bones Hyland (19.8 PPG) among the rookies. He also outscored second year players Tyrese Maxey of the 76ers (26.0) and Desmond Bane of the Grizzles (24.0).

Thomas also finished first among rookies in trips to the free throw line with 9.8 per game.

The Nets rookie guard spoke about being the leading scorer amongst rookies prior to the Nets consolation game and how excited he is to play with James Harden, one of his idols.

Thomas spent Tuesday on the bench, along with Day’Ron Sharpe and David Duke Jr. Jordan Ott, the Nets Summer League head coach, said the decision to rest the three players was to provide the other Nets with a larger opportunity.

“We brought 14 guys here. They’re all Brooklyn Nets. The sacrifice that they made to come with us. Some of those guys chose us, so giving them the opportunity for some playing time. That happened by resting Cam, Day’Ron, Duke and Kaiser (Gates). (I) wanted to give those guys a little look, a little extra playing time and that was the decision we had before the game,” Ott said.

Brooklyn didn’t shoot well in their Summer League finale with Thomas, Sharpe and Duke out — going 26-of-82 from the field (31.7 percent) and 10-of-34 from three (29.4 percent).

“We played hard. We may have ran out of a little gas today. Five games in 10 days but we asked those guys to play hard on both ends. It looks like today we ran out of gas a little bit,” said Coach Ott on the defeat.

Brandon Knight led the way for the Nets with 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the field and 3-of-11 from three. Knight added two assists and two rebounds in 25 minutes. Alize Johnson followed with 11 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes. Chris Silva finished with four blocks.

RaiQuan Gray, the Nets 59th pick, finished with five points in 12 minutes of play. Gray received high praise from Coach Ott after the Summer League finale.

“RaiQuan (has) a super high basketball IQ. You can play him at both positions, the 4 and 5, offensively. Defensively, we definitely switched more with him with how he guards on the perimeter. Interesting to see how he goes going forward. Making steps day by day. Very, Very high basketball IQ. One of the highest I’ve ever seen as a young guy. It’s exciting to see where his development goes from here,” Ott said of Gray.

“My IQ just comes from watching basketball. In order to perfect something, you have to know what you’re doing and know about it,” said Gray. “I’ve watched basketball since I was a kid growing up, from older players and knowing the history of it. Seeing guys throughout the NBA and college, I feel like I never get tired of watching basketball.

“Obviously, coming from a coach at the NBA level, saying that about me is a blessing. I pride myself with my IQ and something I was blessed with as a kid,” Gray added.

The Nets will now have to figure out what to do with players like Gray and fellow second rounder Marcus Zegarowski. Thomas and Sharpe are signed to guaranteed contracts and Duke to an Exhibit 10 deal, essentially a training camp contract.