Cam Thomas spoke in short sentences and gave a little explanation. But his 2021 first-round pick tells how he feels about the lack of playing time.
“Of course,” Thomas replied, when asked by The Post if it was frustrating, before he was again out of action in the Nets’ 129-125 extra-time loss to the Mavericks on Thursday night at the Barclays Center.
Thomas averaged 17.6 minutes per game last season, carving out a role in the injury-plagued Nets rotation. As a rookie, he averaged 8.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, shooting 43.3 percent from the field.
This season, by comparison, Thomas missed three of the first four games. Although he played 12:42 on the opening night against the Pelicans, he came off the bench to play just 58 seconds Wednesday in Milwaukee.
Not only Joe Harris, after returning from ankle surgery, replaced Thomas in the rotation, but also Royce O’Neale, Edmond Sumner and Patty Mills.
Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons have their starting places locked in there and Seth Curry will probably be in line for a few minutes when he returns from an ankle injury.
That leaves Thomas confused about his role.
“No conversation [with coach Steve Nash], said Thomas. “Just not playing at the moment.”
Thomas said there was no message from Nash or the coaching staff, and he had no idea it had come after training camp.
“Very [surprising],” he said. “This is what it is.”
One time Thomas played a real minute this season, he shot 1-for-4 from the field with one assist against the Pelicans.
Harris missed Thursday’s game in the back-to-back second end, increasing the chances of a minute for Thomas, but he was once again out of action.
Curry, Harris, TJ Warren (leg) and Markieff Morris (personal reasons) are out Thursday night.
Nash said Morris and Harris, who play Wednesday in Milwaukee, are likely to play the Pacers on Saturday.
“Currently managing operations,” Nash said. “It’s really just trying to keep him here at the start of the season where we don’t expose him back-to-back. He just had serious ankle surgery.”
Nash added that Curry was “getting closer” and would be evaluated on Friday.