Nets’ Jacque Vaughn Drops Truth Bomb on Cam Thomas

Cam Thomas, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Cam Thomas #24 of the Brooklyn Nets.

A 46-point game for Brooklyn Nets prospect Cam Thomas to end the regular season doesn’t outweigh a loss, says head coach Jacque Vaughn.

“I wish the score was 134 Brooklyn Nets, 105 Philadelphia,” Vaughn told Erik Slater of Clutch Points. “I think that part helps – is that the goal is you win as a team. So 46 points is great but we end up losing by 30. So you’ve got to attach those together. How do you marry the 29 shots or the 30 shots to being a productive teammate where you might not get that amount of shots in a typical game? That’s the question. So can you harness and take that ability and be able to do it in the shorter amount of time? In a more efficient time? And in a setting that it benefits the entire team? That’s the challenge.”

Thomas, the former 27th-overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, has scored at least 40 points four times this season following his showing against the 76ers on April 9. To Vaughn’s point, the Nets are now 1-3 in those games.

In Thomas’ defense, his featured role has come amid some reserve-laden lineups.

Still, Brooklyn went 9-16 during the regular season when Thomas saw at least 20 minutes in a game and 5-6 whenever he scored at least 20 points in a single outing including this loss. He averaged 2.5 assists and 2.5 turnovers in the first 10 of those 20-plus-point performances and had one assist with four turnovers on Sunday.

This is not the first time Vaughn has had to address Thomas’ spotty playing time even as the Nets went in a different direction following the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving trades.

He stressed the team over the individual then too.

“I’ll continue to reiterate how important he is to our group,” Vaughn said via Alex Schiffer of The Athletic during a teleconference with media on February 22. “What I think Cam can be is a bonafide, efficient, and productive scorer for us when asked upon. He’s a guy that can shot create, but we don’t anticipate him playing 40 minutes as he did in those games. So the big part of our whole group is we have depth and so why not lean into that? …At the end of the day, it’s about the entire group, and I’m gonna continue to push that culture more than anything else.”

Cam Thomas Sends Pointed Message

Thomas has kept his head down and performed when called upon, saying he leaves the coaching decisions to his head coach.

“I don’t know,” Thomas said when asked if his latest showing would finally get him a spot in the rotation come playoff time via “Hopefully, but that’s not in my control. That’s their decision. So I don’t know.”

Thomas also sent a pointed message about how he feels about the opportunities presented.

“Whenever you get a chance to hoop – everybody tells you you’re going to play a lot, you’re going to play a good amount – you lock in, try to give your best,” He said. “Because you don’t mess up no opportunities. Very limited around here. So just my love for the game really keeps me going.”

Cam Thomas to Sixers: A Bad Look

“If [the Sixers] going double, you should have did it when I had 30 [points] in the third [quarter], cooking,” Thomas said. “Ya’ll want to do it with a minute or two left so I can’t get 50. So I was surprised but it is what it is.

“I seen them start pointing to Paul Reed, telling him to come trip. So I just started pointing and laughing like, ‘Ya’ll look bad right now’. Doubling at half with a minute left?”

Thomas also lamented a missed goaltending that would have gotten him that much closer to a 50-point outing. But he noted that the Nets and Sixers will face off in the first round of the playoffs beginning on April 15. Philadelphia will have both Joel Embid and James Harden, neither of whom were active in this game, for that series.

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