On February 2, the “Inside the NBA” studio crew announced the reserve players for the 2023 All-Star teams. Brooklyn Nets stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant were announced as starters for the All-Star game last week. And after already securing two players to represent Brooklyn during the star-studded weekend, Nets fans were hoping to send a third player to Salt Lake City. That being their starting center Nic Claxton.
Despite Claxton’s breakout season in 2023, he was not selected as an East All-Star reserve. Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, and Bam Adebayo were among the other frontcourt players selected. Claxton’s All-Star snub was much to the chagrin of Nets fans, who sounded off once the reserves got announced.
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Nic Claxton Was Surprised by All-Star Consideration
The Nets have quickly gone from a bottom-of-the-barrel team that many were wary would even make the NBA playoffs to one of the top contenders for the 2023 title. Several factors have contributed to their rise to the top, but perhaps the most obvious is the emergence of Claxton.
Claxton has turned into one of the most daunting interior defenders in the league, as showcased by his league-leading 2.6 blocks per game, and is one of the top candidates for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. But even amid his breakout season, Claxton admits he was still surprised to get All-Star votes.
“Yeah. It was a surprise to me. It’s definitely a big deal. But it just makes you want to climb up on that list even higher. So, I’ve just got to stick with it and keep doing what I’m doing,” Claxton said via Barbara Barker of NewsDay.
“I feel like I can play even better, I can be more consistent. I can produce even more when I’m out there. So, I’m not getting complacent. That’s good that my name is on that list, but I still have a lot more work to do.”
Jacque Vaughn Places Blame on Himself
The Nets suffered one of their worst losses in the Durant, Kyrie era in their last game against the Boston Celtics. The Nets were seemingly doomed from the start when the Celtics came out firing on all cylinders in the 43-point victory.
Though they are without their best player Durant, you would, at the very least, expect the Nets to show some fight against the team that swept them out of the playoffs last spring. But the onslaught of the Celtics was just too much for the Nets to overcome as they fell 96-139 in Boston. After the loss, Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn took responsibility for Brooklyn’s lack of preparation.
“Yeah, that (Boston’s first quarter) was the biggest difference in the game. I think they start out eight for eight from three or somewhere around there. So, that barrage of them making shots, and then, we weren’t making shots at the same time. So, not a great start for us. I told the group, I’m disappointed in the fact that I did not have them ready to play,” Vaughn said.
“We’ve been a group who has pretty much been focused and ready to play. So, it was a great challenge for us on the road, where they hit first, what was our response? So, give them credit. We talked about making more threes and shooting more threes than them. Neither of those things happened. And they made some tough shots. And they got going early. And that was the difference in the game.”
The Nets will have a chance to get back on track in their next game against the Washington Wizards.