Thomas opens up about his recent struggles.
The Brooklyn Nets lost their 2023-2024 NBA regular season game against the Houston Rockets, 101-112, on Thursday (Jan. 4) at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
The loss snapped a five-game losing streak for the Nets, who have been playing noticeably poorly of late. Brooklyn is struggling on both offense and defense. The offense has been particularly bad.
The problem with Brooklyn’s offense is that they don’t have a clear ace. They were counting on Mikal Bridges, who was acquired in the Kevin Durant trade, to fill that role, but Bridges has proven this season that he’s not up to the task. Bridges has averaged 20.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game this season, but he hasn’t been able to make clutch shots or lead the offense with the ball.
Another player that Brooklyn has pushed into the ace role this season is third-year prospect Cam Thomas. Stylistically, Thomas is a better fit for the ace role than Bridges. That’s because Thomas has been recognized since college for his one-on-one offense. He’s a great three-point shooter and mid-range scorer, and he likes to take the ball and run the offense.
Thomas is averaging 20.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game this season, and he’s in the prime of his career.
However, Thomas’ limitations are also evident. Thomas is the exact opposite of Bridges in that he’s very focused on his own offense and has terrible vision for his teammates. It doesn’t matter how good your individual offense is, if you can’t get your teammates going, your offense will stagnate.
Brooklyn’s recent struggles have also been linked to Thomas’ struggles. Thomas has had some of his worst performances in the last two games, attempting 18 free throws and missing all of them. Thomas is a weak defender. This is what you get when you draft a player based solely on his offense. Impatient Brooklyn head coach Jacques Vaughn reduced Thomas’ minutes to 17 against Houston.
The decision came as Brooklyn’s offense was struggling. It’s a testament to the severity of Thomas’ performance.
Thomas spoke about his feelings in a postgame interview. “I think people forget that I’m human, too. I’m only a third-year player. I’m bound to have ups and downs. I can have bad matches, but my advantage is that I’m confident and I find my confidence quickly.”
It’s an interview that exudes the swagger and confidence of a young player. But after watching Thomas’ last two games, Brooklyn fans must be feeling frustrated.
Brooklyn doesn’t seem to have a solution. Can Thomas be the answer for Brooklyn?