Favale: Nic Claxton must be ‘saved’ from Brooklyn Nets
After Kyrie Irving, Nic Claxton is the free agent the Nets need the most to come back to. He was their starting 5 at the end of the season and in the first round. And with the exception of his miserable free throw shot, especially the 1-of-11 one in Game 4, he was more than useful in that role. Plus, he’s only 23 and a long-term asset.
But Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale, rating the 10 players most in need of a change of scenery, wrote this weekend about how Claxton needs to be “saved” from Brooklyn, arguing the Nets won’t develop him. never to its full potential.
Smart teams with huge chunks of available minutes at center should look to save Nic Claxton from a Brooklyn Nets team that failed to make him the rotational constant he deserves to be…
While noting that Nash leaned more and more on Claxton as the season and postseason progressed, Favale said there was a lot more to Claxton than the Nets had explored.
It’s still not good enough. Claxton should be part of a team that has the stomach for development. The Nets won’t be that team as long as they try to struggle. And while Claxton remains their best option at center, bar none, Brooklyn’s roster isn’t conducive to guaranteeing him minutes.
Additionally, Favale wrote that adding Ben Simmons could make Claxton’s role even smaller.
A healthy Ben Simmons ensures the Nets will always have a non-shooter on the floor. That number goes to two if they re-sign Bruce Brown (unrestricted) and his 40.4% clip of three this season turns out to be an anomaly. Brooklyn will occasionally, if not frequently, find themselves favoring frontcourt setups that feature a floor spacer at 5.
There have been some in the Nets organization who have implicitly or outright said Claxton’s potential is great, especially on offense … but some in this camp also question his durability … and commitment.
His supporters reminisce about Claxton’s last game for the G League’s Long Island Nets on March 20. He was the pivot of the attack. Here are some highlights from his 34-point effort, including everything from 3-point shooting to the European stages.
Small sample — nine games — and it was the G League, not the NBA, but Claxton’s shooting spreads were 66/56/76. Not a typo. As Favale wrote…
He has more offensive depth to explore, including a baby hook shot, but not a big jumper. Brooklyn will want him back anyway. Its five-position switchability is legit. But staying with an organization that can’t guarantee consistent or optimal usage isn’t best for him.
Favale thinks the best fits for Claxton outside of Brooklyn would be Charlotte, Dallas or Oklahoma City.
On the other side of the ledger, Favale believes 24-year-old Clipper backup center Isaiah Hartenstein would find his best fit in Brooklyn. Indeed, last summer there were reports that Hartenstein and the Nets had a mutual interest.
Hartenstein’s liability will forever be capped with LA, even if they decide to prioritize him over (Ivica) Zubac (2023 free agent).
Other suitors should offer Hartenstein more money to boot. The 24-year-old is a non-Bird free agent, so the Clippers can’t give him more than the mid-level mini exception ($6.4 million). And that’s assuming they’re willing to hand it all over to him. They may not want to burn it all on a big one when they have a clear but exaggerated need for a floor general.
Favale thinks competition for Hartenstein could be Dallas and Philadelphia