Rival Executive Sends Strong Message About Nets Starting Center

Nic Claxton

Getty Nic Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets misses a dunk as Isaiah Jackson #22 of the Indiana Pacers defends at Barclays Center

It’s already been a whirlwind of an NBA season for the Brooklyn Nets. A week ago, Brooklyn’s biggest question mark was if they would sign a veteran big man. Then Kyrie Irving found himself embroiled in controversy after tweeting a link to a documentary full of antisemitic and anti-black rhetoric. Shortly after the Kyrie drama, the Nets agreed to part ways with their head coach Steve Nash. Not long after the Nash reports were made, disgraced Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka was reported to be Nash’s replacement in Brooklyn. No deal has been made, but Udoka remains likely to be hired by the Nets by the end of the week. 

However, the Nets’ question at the center position remains a storyline as this season continues on. They have made it clear that their plan is to move forward with young and developing big men Nic Claxton and Day’Ron Sharpe to see what they have with the two. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing Nic and Day’Ron out there,” Marks said. “And see what they can do. They put in the time on the court with our coaching staff this summer and really put in long hours. If you noticed, their bodies have changed and matured. … At the end of the day, I’m excited to give Nic and Day’Ron a shot out there and see how they perform.”

Nets Center Showing Improvement per Executive

Claxton has had a pretty strong campaign for the Nets this year, averaging 11.9 points and 8.8 rebounds for Brooklyn. He seems to be making the most of his opportunities, but there is a glaring spot where Claxton can improve, and an Eastern Conference Executive recently told Heavy Sports the growth that has been seen around the league with Claxton, but also where he can continue to improve. 

“He has improved in a lot of ways, and it is a shame about his free-throw shooting (40.7%). That is the one area he has to clean up. He is doing a really good job fighting for position down low, getting offensive rebounds, getting put-back points. If he continues to do that, they will be happy with him. When they re-signed him this year, there were a lot of concerns about whether he was their guy going forward at that spot but he has answered a lot of those questions. They just need him to make his free throws now,” an Eastern Conference Executive told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney. 

Potential Veteran Centers to Team with Claxton

While Claxton has had a strong year in Brooklyn, it’s clear there can still be improvement in their frontcourt, and having a veteran big man that can rebound and defend could be a valuable addition for the Nets. Even if it is just for 10-15 minutes per game a veteran presence, especially defensively, could benefit Brooklyn. 

The Nets have been linked to multiple big men free agents this season. Dwight Howard has been discussed countless times now as a potential addition. Hassan Whiteside remains available and has been mentioned as a potential signing. DeMarcus Cousins brings an interesting dynamic as a potential big man in Brooklyn. He’s been mentioned, but nothing has progressed beyond that. Veteran center Derrick Favors has also been said to be a possibility as well. Will they add and get some frontcourt help? It remains to be seen, but amidst all of the other franchise questions, that is one that is evident game in and game out for this Nets team. 

Read More