The additions of Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge, together with the return of Blake Griffin, have given the Nets big-man depth they lacked final 12 months. They’ve additionally overshadowed one probably essential participant.

Within the Nets’ preseason finale, nonetheless, Nic Claxton confirmed why he may very well be such a helpful asset this season.

The third-year professional notched 11 factors and 7 rebounds whereas offering distinctive protection to complete with a plus-26 score throughout 24 minutes towards the Timberwolves. In doing so, Claxton shook off a poor efficiency towards the Lakers on Oct. 3 and lacking Monday’s recreation towards the 76ers with a non-COVID sickness.

“I take a number of pleasure in that and really feel like I’m probably the greatest defenders within the league,” stated the previous second-round select of Georgia.

NBAE through Getty Pictures

Kevin Durant raved about Claxton’s skill to defend within the paint and on the perimeter at 6-foot-11, saying it’s one thing the Nets will want usually this coming season. Claxton attributed a few of that versatility to the time he spent working with Durant when the celebrity ahead was rehabbing his torn Achilles tendon throughout his first 12 months with Brooklyn.

“I see an enormous alternative, and I’m positively prepared,” stated Claxton, who averaged 6.6 factors, 5.2 boards and 1.3 blocks in 32 video games a 12 months in the past. “Me being that vitality man, simply creating alternatives for others, and I really feel quite a bit stronger on the market, particularly on the defensive finish simply with the ability to maintain my floor. I’m wanting ahead to this 12 months. It’s going to be a number of enjoyable.

“My objective this 12 months is to take my conditioning to a complete nother stage,” he added. “That’s an enormous a part of my development. It’s one thing I actually obtained to push myself simply to get to that stage to play as many minutes as I must.”

On Friday, the Nets waived guards Jordan Bowden and Brandon Rachal. They might find yourself with their G-League affiliate, the Lengthy Island Nets.

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