Through the Nets‘ first five games of the season, including four losses, second-year guard Cam Thomas has logged just 14 total minutes. Thirteen of those minutes came in the season opener on October 19 — since then, he has been a DNP-CD three times and played the final minute of Wednesday’s game in Milwaukee when the score was out of reach.
Asked after Thursday’s game whether his lack of playing time is frustrating, Thomas replied, “Of course,” according to Ethan Sears of The New York Post.
The Nets have dealt with some injuries in the early going this season — Seth Curry still hasn’t suited up for a game as he returns from ankle surgery, and Joe Harris has been in and out of the lineup, coming off his own ankle injury. Still, Thomas finds himself behind Edmond Sumner and Patty Mills, among others, on the depth chart and isn’t part of Brooklyn’s regular rotation, Sears writes.
The former first-round pick, who appeared in 67 games and averaged 17.6 MPG as a rookie in 2021/22, said that he wasn’t given a sense in training camp that he wouldn’t play regular minutes to open the season, adding that his role – or lack thereof – has been “very” surprising.
“Ain’t had no conversations (with Nets head coach Steve Nash),” Thomas said. “Just not playing at the moment. … It is what it is.”
Thomas is a prolific scorer who led all freshman during his lone college season at LSU with 23.0 points per game and put up 27.4 PPG in the Las Vegas Summer League this July.
While the Nets’ middle-of-the-pack offense could perhaps benefit from Thomas’ scoring punch, putting the ball in the basket hasn’t been the team’s main problem so far this season. Brooklyn’s 120.2 defensive rating ranks dead last in the NBA, so if Nash and the Nets’ coaching staff aren’t confident that Thomas can help improve the team on that end of the floor, his limited role makes some sense.
Brooklyn picked up Thomas’ third-year rookie scale option earlier this month, so he’s locked up through at least the 2023/24 season. The Nets also hold a team option on him for ’24/25.