For the second straight game, Cam Thomas and David Duke Jr. led the Nets Summer League show, defeating the 76ers 91-84 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. The Young Brooklyns are 1-1.
Cam Thomas finished with 26 points, including a perfect 15-of-15 from the line. He also recorded seven assists, the most he’s had in a game since at least Oak Hill. Duke Jr., who is a restricted free agent, finished 20th again with 21 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
Day’Ron Sharpe, who finished the Summer League dunk with 13 points, 11 boards, four assists, three steals and two blocks…
As Nets Summer League coach Adam Caporn said, “I enjoyed it.”
The game was tight the whole time, neither side was offensive enough to pull away.
The Nets entered fourth by a slim 67-66 lead, but outperformed the Sixers 24-18 in the final stanza to late advance and hold them. With 3:45 left, the Nets had only extended the lead to 78-76 as the Sixers kept coming back. The Nets beat the 76ers 13-8 for the remainder of the quarter. In this distance Thomas had six points, Duke four.
After the game, Thomas spoke about how the Nets wanted him to improve the way he played.
“Yes, I just want to come here and show that [I] might do it,” Thomas said. “It’s what they see and whatever they see how good I am at it. I think I’m really good at it. But there is always something.”
“No Mandate: Just part of every young player’s growth,” said Caporn. “Cam is an elite scorer. He really bought into himself as a decision maker and he showed that,” Nets Summer League coach Adam. “Showed it in the last game too, but that reflects in the game and he’s getting better game by game.
“And did what he’s doing to lead us in the fourth quarter and into stretches and still scoring. I see him as an elite pick and roll player over time. He can find the roll, throw lob passes, see the ground and has the strength to keep the ball in tight spaces and in the key lane. That’s a good recipe.”
“Because he’s such a great scorer as he is, he uses that as his focal point – he uses his aggression to create the plays for him,” Duke Jr. said of Thomas. “He has great instincts. Being a good scorer makes it a lot easier to be a passer because everyone will be pounding on you. I’m sure he understands that, you see it game after game.”
Alongside the Nets, three key players, Kessler Edwards and Alondes Williams, the Nets Two-Way rehabilitated after some poor numbers in the Nets’ loss to the Bucks two days ago. Edwards finished the race with 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting including 2-of-5 threes, one at that last stretch. Williams, who failed to provide an assist against Milwaukee, had five Sundays ahead of him, nine points and four assists.
Overall, the Nets looked more ready than Friday, although they have yet to show they can cut turnovers by giving up 22.
Thomas noted that teammates who are newcomers to the Summer League come to him for advice, although he and Sharpe remain the youngest players on the 12-man roster, both still 20 years old.
“It’s crazy to look at. I was thinking about this a few weeks ago because Day’Ron [Sharpe] said, “We’re still the youngest on the team,” and I said, “Man, you’re right. We’re still the youngest on the team, even though we have more NBA experience.” I don’t take it for granted that they look at me like that because they don’t have to listen to me. I’m younger.”
Steve Nash joins the Summer League rooting section
Steve Nash was on hand for the 12:30pm local time launch. In the morning he was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame. He was seated alongside Sean Marks and other Nets executives and was joined by his senior assistant, Jacque Vaughn. Also in the rooting area for a second game: Ben Simmons and Royce O’Neal seen talking to Nash and Marks. Simmons declined questions from the Beat writers, who half attempted to speak to him but reportedly did so in a joking mood. He did that too…
Ben Simmons posted a picture and video on IG with the new Net, Royce O’Neale. Both watched the Nets in the Summer League together this morning.
He also posted Day’Ron Sharpe’s dunk on his IG story. pic.twitter.com/O2LKvdEI1F
— Chris Millholen (@CMilholenSB) July 11, 2022
Nash did not speak to any media other than ESPN’s Zara Stephenson. Stephenson said Nash advised Cam Thomas to focus on his game. When Stephenson asked Thomas for advice after the game, he smiled and said, “It is what is.”
Thomas gets buckets
Cam Thomas has averaged 28.5 points over those two games so far. In his six-game Summer League career, the 20-year-old is averaging 27.5 after leading the Vegas Circuit with 27.0 in four games last season.
“I’m just improving what I can, really just improving what they want to work on in the off-season,” Thomas said. “I got MVP last year, so that’s not a goal or anything. If I get it this year it would be a blessing. But I’m not worried about the scoring, the stats, MVP. I’m just worried about working on what they want me to work on so I can get more grounded in the regular season.”
The Nets next play the Grizzlies on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. ET at the Cox Pavilion. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.