The Nets unloaded Kyrie Irving, and unleashed Cam Thomas.

With Irving out of the lineup the previous three video games (one earlier than and two after he was traded), Thomas has cracked 40 factors in each one. At 21, he’s the youngest participant in NBA historical past to attain no less than 40 in three consecutive video games. His 134 factors in that stretch are essentially the most ever by a Internet in a three-game span, breaking the crew file set by (naturally) Irving.

Although Thomas isn’t a like-for-like alternative, he has taken benefit of the commerce of Irving and harm to Kevin Durant to money in on his golden alternative.

“He’s able to doing it, there’s no query about that,” coach Jacque Vaughn mentioned because the Nets ready to host the Bulls on Thursday. “You’ve simply obtained to consider the totality of our crew. If Kevin was taking part in, might he get that quantity of pictures? In all probability not. Once we had Kevin and Ky, might he get these quantity of pictures? In all probability not.

Cam Thomas drives between Devin Booker (left) and Chris Paul throughout the Nets’ loss to the Suns.
Robert Sabo for NY Publish

“What was the very best lineup round that group? All the time do what’s finest for the crew. Proper now for Cam that is the very best factor for our crew, for him to be showcased to attain the basketball. And his skill to attain the basketball, we’ve wanted these previous two video games. We’ll want it once more.”

Since Wilt Chamberlain retired in 1973, solely 10 gamers have three straight video games with 43 or extra factors: Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Devin Booker, Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Michael Jordan, Damian Lillard, Bob Love, Moses Malone and Russell Westbrook. Now Thomas has joined that august group.

Cam Thomas goes up for a layup during the Nets' loss to the Suns.
Cam Thomas goes up for a layup throughout the Nets’ loss to the Suns.
Robert Sabo for NY Publish

“Lots of people have been hitting me up, saying they’re happy with me,” Thomas mentioned. “In order that’s actually good for me to have some assist again dwelling from buddies, household, whoever, simply assist. That’s what you want now, you want lots of people supporting you and having your finest curiosity. It will get just a little overwhelming, however I take pleasure in it as a result of it simply exhibits that everyone’s watching, in order that’s good.”

Thomas has performed higher than the Nets might’ve anticipated. Within the three video games, he averaged 44.7 factors on 56 p.c capturing, 14-for-25 from deep and 36-for-40 from the free-throw stripe.

That raises the query of how he sat for 5 straight video games final month and struggled to get constant minutes earlier than the Nets misplaced Durant and Ben Simmons to harm, then dealt Irving to Dallas.

“It’s like a merchandising machine, you need it simple, and you place your cash in and generally you get junk. However in the event you put just a little bit extra funding into it — like a house cooked meal — you get to study in regards to the components and what it takes,” Vaughn mentioned. “So he’s discovered the components of being an expert basketball participant, not the merchandising machine, not the fast and simple.”

Durant (MCL) and Seth Curry (left adductor) can be out versus the Bulls, whereas Yuta Watanabe (again tightness) and Day’Ron Sharpe (proper foot soreness) are questionable. Simmons — who made his return Tuesday after lacking 5 video games with a knee harm — is offered.