There has been little reason for excitement surrounding the Brooklyn Nets of late. There would be virtually none if not for Cam Thomas. After returning from an ankle injury, the third-year guard has been the Nets' lone bright spot during a 1-4 stretch over their last five games.

Thomas has scored 20-plus points in each contest, tying the longest streak of his career. He's averaging 26.8 points on 49/44/85 shooting splits overall during the span. More notably, he's continued to show flashes of improved playmaking, averaging 3.6 assists. As attention from opposing defenses continues to grow, interim head coach Kevin Ollie said Thomas has an opportunity to take his next step as a lead guard.

“We know he can score, but just him also being able to court-map, understanding that there’s gonna be more double-teams thrown his way because he puts so much pressure on the defense,” Ollie said of Thomas' growth. “As he puts pressure on teams, there’s gonna be more thrown at him, and he has to be able to understand pattern recognition, what defenses are doing, and how to distort that by him having a basketball IQ that he’s obtaining.

“Teams are trying to stop him each and every gameplan,” Ollie continued. “He’s on the scouting report as one of the most prolific scorers in the league.”

Cam Thomas is expanding game in breakout third season with Nets

Brooklyn Nets guard Cam Thomas (24) brings the ball up court in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

After spending most of his first two seasons on the bench, Thomas became a focal point of Brooklyn's offense in 2023-24. He's made the most of the opportunity, averaging a team-high 21.5 points per game on 44/37/84 shooting splits.

While Thomas still has significant room for improvement as a defender, Brooklyn's coaching staff has been pleased with the 22-year-old's commitment on that end. The same can be said for his rebounding. Thomas is averaging 5.4 boards over the Nets' last five games, the second-most on the team.

“On the offensive end, he’s exceptional, but what I’ve started liking is his rebounding prowess as a guard, getting down there and mucking it up a little bit and not shying away from contact. So I’m enjoying watching him and his progress doing that,” Ollie said.

Thomas' growth as an offensive engine will be a key storyline for the Nets over the coming year. The former first-round pick will enter the final year of his rookie contract in 2024-25, opening the door for potential extension talks this summer.