Nic Claxton’s defensive versatility an underrated Nets asset

The additions of Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge, together with the return of Blake Griffin, have given the Nets big-man depth they lacked final year. They have additionally overshadowed one doubtlessly crucial participant.

In the Nets’ preseason finale, nonetheless, Nic Claxton confirmed why he could possibly be such a priceless asset this season.

The third-year professional notched 11 factors and 7 rebounds whereas offering distinctive protection to complete with a plus-26 ranking throughout 24 minutes in opposition to the Timberwolves. In doing so, Claxton shook off a poor efficiency in opposition to the Lakers on Oct. 3 and lacking Monday’s recreation in opposition to the 76ers with a non-COVID sickness.

“I take a lot of pride in that and feel like I’m one of the best defenders in the league,” stated the previous second-round select of Georgia.

NBAE through Getty Images

Kevin Durant raved about Claxton’s skill to defend within the paint and on the perimeter at 6-foot-11, saying it’s one thing the Nets will want usually this coming season. Claxton attributed a few of that versatility to the time he spent working with Durant when the famous person ahead was rehabbing his torn Achilles tendon throughout his first year with Brooklyn.

“I see a big opportunity, and I’m definitely ready,” stated Claxton, who averaged 6.6 factors, 5.2 boards and 1.3 blocks in 32 video games a year in the past. “Me being that vitality man, simply creating alternatives for others, and I really feel lots stronger on the market, particularly on the defensive finish simply with the ability to maintain my floor. I’m trying ahead to this year. It’s going to be a whole lot of enjoyable.

“My goal this year is to take my conditioning to a whole nother level,” he added. “That’s a big part of my growth. It’s something I really got to push myself just to get to that level to play as many minutes as I need to.”

On Friday, the Nets waived guards Jordan Bowden and Brandon Rachal. They might find yourself with their G-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets.

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