Nets Starter Sends Strong Warning to NBA Following Kevin Durant Injury News

Nic Claxton

Getty Nic Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets looks to make a play.

The Brooklyn Nets have quickly gone from a team that people were wary would even make the NBA playoffs to one of the top contenders for this year’s NBA title. There have been several factors leading to the Nets’ rise to the top, but perhaps the most obvious has been the upward development of Nicolas 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. On January 9, Claxton posted a graphic on his Instagram stories showing that he leads the league in blocks and put the NBA on notice with a strong message.

“Come in here & get trim if u want,” the rising center said (H/T @NetsKingdomAJ).

The latest Nets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Nets newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Nets!

Claxton Reacts to First Round of All-Star Voting

Claxton’s defense is the most highlighted aspect of his development this season because the Nets have desperately needed to add that aspect to their roster for the last three seasons. And now, with Claxton’s improvement on that end of the floor, they are even more of a threat.

But Claxton has also made developments to his all-around game. He is having the best statistical season of his career as he is averaging career highs in nearly every category, including an NBA-leading 73.8 percent from the field this year.

His performance this season has been noticed by NBA fans as he placed 9th among all Eastern Conference frontcourt players in the first round of NBA All-Star voting. Despite his improved play, Claxton says to receive that recognition is still surprising.

“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 NetsDaily.

“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.”

Insiders Give Insight on Kevin Durant Knee Injury

Despite Claxton already carrying a heavy workload for Brooklyn, he may be asked to do even more in the wake of Kevin Durant’s absence. For those who may be tardy to the party, Durant suffered a sprained right MCL in the Nets’ win over the Miami Heat on January 8.

If there is a silver lining to Durant’s situation, it is that this isn’t the first time that he has suffered a knee injury. And each time he has, he returned in that same season, as outlined by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Nick Friedell.

“This isn’t the first time Durant has dealt with a knee issue. He injured the MCL in his left knee during a Jan. 15, 2022, win over the New Orleans Pelicans and had to miss more than 1½ months while rehabbing. The Nets, who were 27-15 at the time and still playing with Kyrie Irving on a part-time basis because of the New York City vaccination mandate, were 5-17 in Durant’s absence, including an 11-game losing streak,” Friedell and Wojnarowski write via ESPN.

“Durant also missed over a month in 2017 when he sprained an MCL and suffered a tibial bone bruise after former Golden State Warriors teammate Zaza Pachulia accidentally fell into his knee.”

It will be interesting to see if the Nets can keep the ship afloat until Durant returns.