The disrespect was loud but the apology should be heard all throughout Brooklyn. There had been so much talk about the Nets not having a defensive, aggressive and dominant big. Well, maybe we were all just impatient, we introduced to you the Clax attack!
Nicolas Claxton has been showing so much as we entered this season. Claxton, was a second-round draft pick by Sean Marks a few years ago. Many, saw Claxton and understood he would be a project and had real raw skills. Like most young bigs in this league, the fan's expectation is for them to bring high energy and be a catalyst especially paired with superstars. We saw glimpses of what Claxton could be with patience and time for him to develop.
Physically, the Nets have not been getting equivalent performances against other star opponent matchups. It would really be the difference in games and most playoff series. There had been questions and thoughts about what the Nets needed to do to address such a glaring issue. No rebounds, no protection at the rim and always consistently giving easy buckets in the paint.
Enter the season of 2022-2023 and Nicolas Claxton heard all of your concerns. Let's just say he took them personally. Claxton has not only been a pest on defense but has really taken pride in rebounding and blocking shots at the rim. Claxton has been on league lists for blocks per game and total blocks on the season. While also being on the top of the list for dunks, and field goal percentage. However, what is not shown much is his versatility. Guarding off switches, helping and staying in front of elite guards has really been effective.
Playing together as a unit Claxton and Simmons with the likes of Royce Oneal together has been a serious upgrade. This team or any Nets team in quite some time hasn't been this locked in defensively. Nets keeping the defensive effort is huge for their overall success and could potentially give them the edge in the near future.
However, the Nets must be careful about how much Claxton is contributing. They are not deep at the five and the way Claxton is bringing it every night, Marks may want to bring a complimentary piece to tie in while sparing Claxton or vice versa.
This Nets fan wants to say, sorry for the doubt about Claxton and we are pleased. Keep continuing to be the special player you're developing into.
Everything seems to be clicking the Nets are currently on a 12-game win streak. They hope to continue that tonight as they visit the Chicago Bulls.