Brooklyn Nets: Breaking down Nets entry in Las Vegas Summer League

Brooklyn Nets Las Vegas Summer League. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Las Vegas Summer League. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets Jaylen Hands Nicolas Claxton. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Can the rookies play?

If Nicolas Claxton or Jaylen Hands actually play for the Brooklyn Nets in Las Vegas, they will be the first draft picks to do so since Sean Marks became general manager in 2016.

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That year, Caris LeVert was recovering from foot surgery and did not play in Vegas. In 2017, Jarrett Allen had a foot injury that sidelined him for the Summer League.

Last year, Dzanan Musa was held out after logging more than 1,600 minutes in 71 games in domestic and Eurocup competition for Croatian club Cedevita, while Rodions Kurucs couldn’t get his buyout from Spanish side FC Barcelona done in time to see any action.

Claxton was taken by the Nets with the 31st overall pick in last month’s NBA Draft after playing two seasons at the University of Georgia. Hands, who came out after his sophomore season at UCLA, was acquired in a draft-night trade from the LA Clippers, who had taken Hands at No. 56.

That trade sent the Denver Nuggets first-round pick at No. 27 overall to the Clippers, with the Nets also acquiring the Philadelphia 76ers’ lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick, replacing their own 2020 first-rounder that was sent (lottery-protected) to the Atlanta Hawks with Allen Crabbe.

Nicolas Claxton, PF-C: Claxton is a thin frontcourt player who made huge strides in his second season at Georgia.

He was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection after leading the SEC in blocked shots and ranking third in the conference in rebounding.

Claxton averaged 13.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.1 steals in 31.6 minutes per game for the Bulldogs, shooting 46.0 percent overall and 28.1 percent on 2.0 3-point tries per game.

Claxton is 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-2½ wingspan, as measured at the NBA Draft Combine in May, but weighed in at just 216.6 pounds, so he will need to work on his strength and bulk.

He’s more of a 4 than a 5, with the ability to put the ball on the floor and an improving stroke from outside.

Jaylen Hands, PG: Hands was a second-team All-Pac-12 conference pick last season, leading the Pac-12 in assists.

Hands made tremendous strides as a playmaker last season, improving from 2.6 assists per game as a freshman to 6.1 a night as a sophomore.

He also averaged 14.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 31.2 minutes per game, shooting 41.3 percent overall and 37.3 percent on 5.4 deep attempts a game.

Hands has decent size at 6-foot-3 and 10 pounds with a 6-foot-5½ wingspan that can create some problems in passing lanes.

Turnovers will be something Hands needs to cut down on — he averaged 3.2 giveaways per game for the Bruins last season.