NBA players, like all professional athletes, are not short on confidence when it comes to their abilities. Even rookies. Brooklyn Nets’ rookie Cam Thomas fits that description, recently telling media members that he is a better scorer than Kevin Durant was at his age.
Thomas is 20 years old.
Earlier this week after the Nets win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, a game in which Thomas was a spark off the bench scoring 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting, the rookie made some bold claims about his scoring ability.
Thomas said he beat KD in a game of 1-on-1 at a shootaround, and that at 20 he’s a better scorer than KD was at 20.
Cam Thomas: I beat KD in 1-on-1
Kevin Durant: "Cam is lying" 😂 pic.twitter.com/7b42aowwzA
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) November 23, 2021
Thomas and KD have built a little bond this season, as the grizzled 14-year veteran has taken the young rookie under his wing. The two engage in friendly trash talk and it’s pretty funny.
KD addressed his young teammate’s comments and said “Cam is lying.” The word “ridiculous” was also thrown in there. KD said he gets it, as Cam was 4-for-7 that night and “feeling himself.”
The deadpans from KD in the media session were hilarious.
This is good-natured back-and-forth between teammates and frankly it’s good for the Nets.,
On a team with veteran established superstars like KD and James Harden it can often seem like they do their own thing while rookies and young guys aren’t a part of it. This bond will be useful as the season goes on and the Nets come to rely on the young rookie.
The NBA grind is long. KD and Harden are in their 30s. They need to be rested and at their peak come April. The only way to do that is to have younger contributors on the team play meaningful minutes.
As far as their 1-on-1 game, KD says it’s ongoing and the score doesn’t reset so Cam is going to be down by a lot really soon. As to who is better at scoring at age 20. Cam’s season isn’t over yet but it’s KD.
Forget about points per game because KD has been a starter since his rookie year. He’s a better shooter and has a better shot profile. Now Cam may have some moves in his bag, but given his place on the team it’s unlikely we see them all this season.
Having KD as a mentor and teammate will only help the young rookie. He doesn’t lack any confidence, but the subtleties and nuances of the game that KD has mastered will take time to learn. KD can help with that process.
Given that there is no timetable for Kyrie Irving’s return to the team, it looks like Thomas will have more opportunities to learn in the crucible that is the grind of an NBA contending team.
The Nets are 13-5 and have the best record in the Eastern Conference, KD leads the league in scoring and is an MVP candidate. They take on the Boston Celtics tonight, Nov. 24, and then break for Thanksgiving before playing the hottest team in the league on Saturday, Nov. 27, the Phoenix Suns.
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