No. 3: Cam Thomas, Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets have been right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference to start the season, driven in large part by an offense that ranks inside the top 10 in the league. They’ve survived despite Nic Claxton and Cam Johnson each playing in just one game each.
Part of that success has been driven by Mikal Bridges continuing to play at a high two-way level, or their role players shooting well from outside, but the real reason they are scoring so well has been the explosion of third-year guard Cam Thomas.
The 22-year-old guard came out swinging to start the season, dropping 30 points or more in each of his first three games. His marquee performance came in a close loss to the Milwaukee Bucks as he poured in 45 points. Heading into Wednesday night’s win over the Clippers he was averaging 28.7 points per game through seven contests.
Jalen Green checked in at 19th on the 25-under-25 list, buoyed by a few highlight reel performances and his draft pedigree. Thomas, taken 25 picks after Green in the same draft, was left off the list entirely. Yet while Thomas doesn’t have Green’s athleticism, he has been a much better player in a similar role to Green, and there’s no reason to think he doesn’t have similar upside to Green at this point.
Thomas has similar efficiency to Green (nearly identical true-shooting percentages) but with significantly more volume, a more useful skill. If he were taken with the No. 2 pick instead of Green he would be above him on the list without a question. He deserved to make the list and looks to be on a trajectory to continue proving doubters wrong.