Media day is my favorite day of September.
All of our beloved Brooklyn Nets suited up this week, back in the uniform and sporting the new Webull sponsorship patch, and sat down to talk Nets basketball leading up to the most anticipated season in Brooklyn history.
How can you not feel the excitement in the air?
James Harden brought excitement to Brooklyn Nets Media Day.
Outside of the Big 3, there’s plenty of additional hype to be found filling out the rest of the roster.
Adding to all the buzz was James Harden, who had this to say to the media about the skill of young big man Nic Claxton:
Harden really does get it.
Since he was drafted by the Nets, Claxton has shown flashes of what he can be for this Nets franchise. Added shortly before the signings of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Claxton earned playing time after some injuries and has continued to get run because he has high motor and length on the defensive end. Now, with his skillset coming around the corner, Claxton can add to what already looks like a monster of a Nets roster.
Harden and Capela played together for years on Mike D’Antoni’s Houston Rockets. The duo became synonymous with pick-and-roll success. During their time together, they had the highest net rating in the league. They were the key to the Rockets’ success during this era. If Harden really believes Claxton has the skills, it could spell trouble for the rest of the league. The two were filmed working out together this summer, working on threes and driving the lane.
What does a “more skilled Clint Capela” really mean? To start, Claxton’s jump shot will be huge. During his time in the G-League and the NBA, Claxton has flashed a 3-point stroke.
During his rookie year G-League experience, he shot 55.6% from deep on two attempts per game. Despite this promising start, his shots from beyond the arc have been sparse — in over a full season in the NBA, he has only shot 12 threes, making two of these attempts. However, if Coach Nash intends to have Harden run the bench unit like he did last season, the two could run a fluent pick-and-roll or even pick-and-pop situation, and if those threes start to fall, the league is really in trouble.
Claxton does have one thing that this current Nets roster is sort of lacking: youth. If Nash has an 11-man rotation (which, for the NBA, is a stretch, but the Nets have the depth for it) with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Joe Harris, Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills, Bruce Brown, James Johnson, and Nic Claxton, the average age of that rotation is 31. Not as bad as the Lakers are right now, but still not great.
At 22, Claxton is the youngest in that rotation by a decent amount — the only player near that age is Bruce Brown at 25. This youth could be important to the Nets down the line.
It’s great to see one of the veteran leaders of a team give such high praise for the youngsters. It’s even more important for this team of strong personalities that the leaders boost the morales of every player. Harden’s praise for Claxton won’t get the attention of the rest of the league, but their first alley-oop connection certainly will.