Nets are right for not throwing Nicolas Claxton in rotation after return

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 19: Nicolas Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 19: Nicolas Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets received some positive injury news ahead of their matchup against former All-Star D’Angelo Russell and the Minnesota Timberwolves. After missing weeks with a mysterious, still unidentified illness, young big man Nicolas Claxton appears ready to suit up in black and white.

Claxton is finally returning to full strength, and his return couldn’t have come at a better time. With some favorable matchups in the schedule, he could help Kevin Durant and James Harden put some distance between the current No. 1 seed in the East and the competition trying to unseat them.

Claxton, who already checked in at a ropy 215 pounds before succumbing to this illness, went through a very tough rehabilitation process. His weight was already a question mark, and the Georgia alum claims that he shed a ton of pounds while his body worked to get healthy again.

“The toughest part was just honestly just losing weight, and looking at yourself in the mirror and I was just so small,” said Claxton. “But I’m back now. I’m back in shape and ready to get back in game shape.”

Will the Nets throw Claxton out there, or will they choose a more gradual approach? Considering the fact he only played three minutes against Minnesota, it looks like they’re taking the long road.

Will the Brooklyn Nets lean on Nicolas Claxton?

The benching of Blake Griffin may make it seem like the Nets are struggling to find any sort of consistency or depth at the center spot, the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, James Johnson, and Paul Millsap are doing everything they can to keep Brooklyn solid on the interior. The Nets don’t have to force-feed Claxton minutes now that he is back.

Claxton can do all of the conditioning he wants, but NBA competition is going to be a major shock for him. It may take a week or so for Claxton to get back into peak athletic and physical shape, and the Nets shouldn’t rush one of their best young prospects back so soon.

Still, the potential of what he could do for this team is enticing. Claxton was one of their best individual players on defense due to his ability to defend multiple positions, and that skill could help the Nets sustain what has been a categorical improvement on defense.

While it’s tough to oftentimes mesh the contrasting philosophies of developing young talent and going all out to win a ring, the Nets can accomplish both goals. To get the most out of Claxton while not upsetting their veteran-laden rotation, Claxton needs to be eased back into the lineup and monitored closely.

Aldridge and the vets are capable of shouldering most of the offensive responsibility.