While all the hype surrounding the Brooklyn Nets has been about their ‘big three’ of James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant one player has flown under the radar. Nic Claxton may not be as well known around the league as the Nets’ stars, but Brooklyn’s fans have been anxiously waiting on the young center’s return.
Claxton is an athletic, seven-footer out of Georgia who plays with the aggressiveness that the Nets were missing after Harden’s arrival. Last night his mean streak was on full display during the Nets road win over the San Antonio Spurs.
DeRozan Tries Nic Claxton at the Rim
Things got heated between Claxton and Spurs’ star DeMar DeRozan during the fourth quarter of the Nets’ overtime win in San Antonio. DeRozan who is known around the league for putting big men on posters tried to add Claxton to his collection last night.
Claxton seemed insulted that DeRozan even tried to go at him and appears to tell the Spurs’ star not to try it again.
"Don't try me" – Claxton, appalled that DeRozan even thought about it pic.twitter.com/oQ9s6PYDFe
— Lucas Kaplan (@Lucas_Kaplan) March 2, 2021
DeRozan might have been looking for revenge on Claxton who pinned his shot on the backboard on a chase-down block earlier in the contest.
The young center appeared to be hurt on the play but was able to shake it off and play the rest of the game.
Nic Claxton with an incredible chase down block, but comes up wincing, grabbing his ankle.
He’ll stay in the game.
— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) March 2, 2021
Claxton Has Been Impressive
Claxton has looked like the type of center the Nets have been looking to acquire via the free-agent market. The Nets big man finished with 17 points including a monster 13-point second quarter against a stingy Spurs defense.
NIC CLAXTON HAVE A QUARTER 😱
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 2, 2021
“It felt good, I got a little rhythm and I’m starting to get my legs back a little bit,” Claxton said of his big night via NetsDaily.
“It felt good to be out there and my teammates found me, James especially putting me in positions to score. When the game is made that simple, I am going to take that free money every time.”
Claxton has only appeared in four games for the Nets this season as he has been battling back from right knee tendinopathy for most of the season. He is still getting back in game shape. Claxton knows the only way to get back to his original form is to go out and contribute to key games as he did against the Spurs.
“I feel good. It felt good to get back in the trenches honestly,” Claxton said via NetsDaily. “Just to get a little nicked up and keep playing, you know, it feels good. I’ll take care of my body and get ready for when we play Houston.”
Nets Bench Is Starting to Take Shape
The Nets were heavily criticized for lack of talent in their pool of reserves once the James Harden trade was completed. They have now discovered another gem off the bench in Claxton along with forward Bruce Brown who has filled in for the injured Durant. Nets’ guard Kyrie Irving sees the potential in Clax.
“It’s a big thing. We have a lot of guys who can go out there and fill spots but Nic being the younger guy sort of we just want him to learn from the best of the best and what it takes to be the best of the best,” Irving said via 7Up Sports. “We just want him to do well as well as the other guys,”
Claxton could play a major role when the Nets take on the Rockets on Wednesday.