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Cam Thomas climbs in rookie rankings

San Antonio Spurs v Brooklyn Nets Photo by David L. Nemec/NBAE via Getty Images

In this week’s rooking rankings by NBA.com and CBS Sports, Cam Thomas moved into the top 10 (NBA.com) and top 5 (CBS). The rankings come after a week when the 27th pick hit the game winner in the Nets game vs. the Spurs ... and averaged better than 15 points over three games.

Thomas, of course, was the 27th pick in the Draft, taken with the Nets pick.

Jasmyn Wimbish of CBS ranked Thomas behind four top six picks, Cade Cunningham of Detroit; Evan Mobley of Cleveland; Josh Giddey of Oklahoma City and Scottie Barnes of Toronto.

When the Nets were struggling with fielding a team due to so many players in the league’s health and safety protocols, Thomas stepped in and made the most of the situation. Since then, his playing time has been in flux with the return of All-Star guard Kyrie Irving as a part-time player, but whenever Brooklyn needs him, he doesn’t disappoint. His latest impressive performance came Monday night in the Nets loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Brooklyn was without James Harden, who was a late scratch, so it meant big minutes for Thomas off the bench.

In over 26 minutes of action, Thomas finished with 21 points, three rebounds and three steals. This comes after another performance earlier in the week in which he put up 14 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal against the Milwaukee Bucks. If Brooklyn needs a player to go in and make an impact either through scoring, rebounding or playing tough defense, it knows it can call on Thomas to deliver.

Steve Aschbruner of NBA.com didn’t offer as extensive summary of Thomas’ week but put him at No. 10, noting...

Makes the most of uncertain minutes in Brooklyn rotation, including the game-winner on Sunday.

For the three-game week, the LSU product averaged 15.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals with shooting splits of 51/33/83.

Sports Illustrated while not ranking Thomas in its top seven list for the first half of the season does cite his game-winner over the Spurs as the rookie highlight of last week.

Brooklyn’s rookie isn’t exactly lacking in confidence, and he made his greatest contribution to date in Sunday’s win over the Spurs. Thomas attacked a close-out off a Kevin Durant pass in the final seconds of overtime against San Antonio, waltzing into the lane before draining a floater from just inside the foul line. We could see a similar scenario unfold in the 2022 playoffs. Defenses will (rightfully) send a second defender at Durant or James Harden in crucial situations, creating open looks for Brooklyn’s role players. It’s not uncommon for youngsters to freeze in that situation or make an errant pass, but Thomas did nothing of the sort. He coolly assessed the defense, made a decisive move and attacked with confidence. The Nets appear to have found a keeper with the 27th pick in the ’21 draft.

Thomas tied his season-high of 21 points Thursday night vs. the Thunder