Nets: Nic Claxton’s College Coach Has High Praise for Future in Brooklyn

Nic Claxton of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Nic Claxton of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets might have found a good one in Nic Claxton.

When the Brooklyn Nets took Nic Claxton out of Georgia at the start of the second round in 2019, most fans heard the high praise, but reacted with a solidified, “Meh” to the pick anyway.

After all, how often do draft analysts reach to praise early second-rounders simply because they have to fill space in their telecast while casual fans grasp for straws?

After one year of split action between the NBA and G League level, though, it seems the Nets managed to nab a rangy big in Claxton who fits perfectly with their program.

Don’t believe us? Ask Tom Crean, former Indiana coach and the current head man at UGA, who took to Twitter unprompted to heap praise on Claxton in recent days.

First of all, sort of funny that a prominent college coach is…only now studying “NBA ball screen offense”? Might’ve been helpful to do that a bit more before you brought Anthony Edwards in, sir.

But Crean’s shortcomings aside, he seems to be exactly right, and it’s refreshing to be hit with a wave of optimism during an otherwise dry period for joy right now in the NBA.

In nine games with Long Island of the G League this past year, Claxton connected on nearly 66% of his shots, hitting one of his two 3-point attempts per game. In 15 games with the big club, that percentage dipped to 56.3% — he’ll need to find a midpoint to be as successful as Crean seems to believe he’ll be.

Jarrett Allen has perfected the art of swatting and owning the paint, but if Claxton can maintain his high-percentage finishes around the rim while expanding his work and efficiency from beyond the arc, Brooklyn really may have something here.

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When Brooklyn’s superstars arrive in full form next season, the team’s role players will become even more important. Hopefully, Claxton can take some of the pressure off.