The Nets are eagerly awaiting the return of Nick Claxton to Anchor Defense


Nick Claxton was Brooklyn’s best defender last season and was a starter earlier this season. He told the Post that the big man, who had been ill, had not played for about three weeks and he probably would not have had a couple more.

“Yeah, I’m in the ramp-up right now. I am reconsidering myself. I fell ill, I lost a lot of weight, ”Claxton told The Post at a Nets charity event in Brooklyn. “But I’ve regained the weight, and I’m feeling better and I’m hoping to get back in the next couple of weeks.”

Claxton – serving free turkeys at Cavalry Baptist Church in Red Hook – has not played against Washington since Oct. 25, missed the last 13 games for the Nets and admitted not to play Monday in Cleveland.

With 215 pounds spread over the already 6-foot-11 frame, Claxton could afford to be thinner and was disinterested in how much weight he had lost.

Nick Claxton (center) James Johnson (right) and his father Charles Claxton (left) at a Nets charity event.
Brian Lewis

The 22-year-old Claxton had a match with COVID-19 last season, entered health and safety protocols on April 19 and did not play again until May 4. But he told the Post that he was asymptomatic and that he had not suffered from any Kovid. -Hall features. The Nets have listed him as a non-Covidian out of sorts.

“I’m not worried. I want to go with it,” laughed Claxton as he pressed his form of illness. But I’m fine now. I’m getting back to where I want to go so I can go out there and play. I am excited to be back there with my teammates.

Whenever that happens, Brooklyn is a welcome sight. Claxton’s ability to change one-through-five in defense is a game-changer.

Last season, Claxton was Brooklyn’s best defender, leading both defensive rating (102.1) and net rating (12.3), ranking fourth in plus-minus (plus-157).

Of all the players who have appeared in at least 25 games and 15 minutes last season, Claxton’s defensive rating is the sixth best in the entire league. The quintet in front of him are all known for their work on that end of the floor – Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley Jr., Georges Niang, Alex Caruso and Mike Mascala.

With the Nets squad now remaking their DNA and tightening their defenses, there’s no reason to think that Claxton couldn’t be more effective on that end. At least, whenever he is physically ready to play.

When healthy, Nick Claxton (33) is one of the Nets' best defenders.
When healthy, Nick Claxton (33) is one of the Nets’ best defenders.
AP

When the Nets lost Kyrie Irving, Steve Nash actually turned and added Clockston to the starting lineup.

Claxton started the first three games of the year, but was struggling and minus-43 overall. When Nash was brought off the bench against Washington, Claxton responded with his best performance of the season, with a plus-21 six points, eight rebounds and a couple blocks in 16:16.

He has not played with the Nets, including a 6-foot-9, 250-pound Blake Griffin with LaMarcus Aldridge backup Smallball Five. Griffin is under-resourced and struggling on offense, and Aldridge can’t change defensively.

Nash said, “For me, Nick has a way to go. He really needs to work on his conditioning. So I’m not sure when he will come back or when he will come back with the pressure and the dynamic ability to play the game at this level,” Nash said. I don’t think it’s in the games. ”

Claxton was in Brooklyn on Saturday with fellow Nets big man James Johnson (and Claxton’s father Charles) handing out turkeys on Saturday. The Nets and New York Liberty Foundation donated 2,000 Thanksgiving meals this weekend to families struggling with food insecurity in three neighborhoods: Red Hook, East Flatbush and Brownsville.

“It’s nice to be able to go back to the city, get back to Brooklyn and get back, show your face and show that you care,” Claxton told The Post. “Because I remember when I was in a lot of people’s shoes here, so it was nice to be able to come back.”

“Yes, it’s good to be able to come to these kinds of shows. We were unable to do these things due to an epidemic last year. So it’s good to go back and show your face, show love. ”

.

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