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The popularity of Cam Thomas among NBA executives

In his “23 Players Under 23,” Tom Ziller of Good Morning Basketball puts Cam Thomas on his “honorable mention” list. Not bad for a 20-year-old in his second year. And Thomas did have a solid first season despite concerns about his defense and playmaking. He had 10 games of 20 or more points including a 30-point game vs. Utah and a 21-point effort complete with the game dagger against the Knicks at the Garden. In the month of February, he averaged 16.5 points a game.

It was also during February that Sean Deveney reports Thomas became a highly sought player with a lot of teams making offers to the Nets at the trade deadline.

“We called about him last year. I think just about everyone called about him at the trade deadline last year if you were looking for young players. He wasn’t going to play if they were gonna make a Finals run if they had everyone. So we wanted to give up a veteran and take him back. Didn’t happen,” one Eastern Conference head coach told Deveney.

Despite all that interest, the Nets weren’t interested, Deveney quotes the executive as saying.

“He plays with great pace, and he has a knack for scoring the ball, obviously. Pure scorer. But they were not moving him last year, they made that pretty clear. Now, it would be even tougher to get him away from them because they don’t know what is next with KD and (Kyrie) Irving. He could be a guy who gets a lot of minutes with them next year, they’re not looking to give him away. They don’t want to rebuild, they are not trying to do a fire sale there. They want to stay in the mix in the East. He can help them with that.”

Isiah Thomas has gone so far as to compare the 6’3” guard with one of his teammates, Vinny Johnson whose nickname was “The Microwave” a play on his ability to heat up quickly.

The executive also suggested that Thomas, who’s never been afraid to take the big shot, may be overconfident.

“Really good scorer. He knows he is, that is part of the problem. He does not know his role, he has not figured that out,” the executive told Deveney. “Volume scoring is just not what they need off the bench, a volume shooter. He showed what he can do in Summer League again, but we knew all that. Can you learn to pass? Can you make plays for others? Can you put in the work on your 3-pointer so you can be an effective scorer in today’s NBA and not just a guy who gets to the rim? There is a lot to prove there still, you just have to hope he is not overconfident,” the executive said.

During this year’s Summer League, his second leading the circuit in points, did show some heightened playmaking skills, averaging 4.2 assists, but he hit only 26 percent of his threes, even less than his regular season average of 27 percent.

How much of a role will Thomas have this season? Right now, it’s difficult to tell with additions and a return to health by several other scorers. But one thing is certain, whenever Thomas enters the game, everyone takes notice.