Brooklyn Nets: Should Nicolas Claxton be starting over DeAndre Jordan?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 21: Nicolas Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets in (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 21: Nicolas Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets in (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets haven’t been shy about their willingness to switch up and change the rotations over the last few months, and they might need to slightly do that again because Nicolas Claxton’s play might be enough to take minutes away from DeAndre Jordan at center.

While James Harden’s virtuoso performance helped lead a shorthanded Nets team to a win against the Portland Trail Blazers, Claxton deserved praise for his performance. He scored 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting, racked up nine rebounds, and played excellent defense on guards and bigs alike.

Jordan put together another solid game, but the fact that he’s not the same interior defender he once was coupled with the reality that he’s a non-factor on the offensive end has had Nets fans clamoring for a reduced role for large chunks of the season.

With Claxton proving to be superior to Jordan on both ends of the floor of late, will Steve Nash give some of Jordan’s minutes to the former Georgia star? With the Nets, who are still not an amazing defensive team, putting a poor defender in Blake Griffin into the rotation, Claxton’s skills are more valuable than ever.

Will Nicolas Claxton get some starting minutes for the Brooklyn Nets?

Claxton has averaged 9.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game this season. When projected out to 36 minutes per contest, those averages jump up to 19.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.1 blocks per contest.

He’s not only capable of finishing at the rim, but he can handle the ball, drive to the basket, and pull up for a mid-range jumper. In an offense that isn’t comfortable unless it’s playing at warp speed, wouldn’t someone that can run the floor like Claxton be a more natural fit than an anchor like Jordan?

The term “position-less” gets overused, but Claxton really is starting to embody that on the defensive end. How many players can defend Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic within the span of a few possessions? The Nets are still lacking defense, and Claxton goes a long way toward solving that problem.

Cleaning the Glass (subscription required) claims that the Nets are 9.2 points worse than average when Jordan is on the floor — the worst number by any Nets regular not named Landry Shamet. Claxton, on the other hand, makes the Nets 14.2 points better. Nash is leaning on Claxton to close games, and he could make him a starter if he keeps this up.