Nic Claxton had an arduous year-long road back to the court, plagued with disappointments and setbacks. But now that the young big man is back, he’s already outperforming what the Nets might have hoped for.
“I think that’s fair. He’s had a hard time with injuries from shoulder to knee and everything. You never want to have too high expectations, ”Steve Nash said after the Magic’s 129-92 loss on Thursday. “But it is a testament to the coaching staff that worked with him every day and their diligence with their work. He has worked hard to put himself in this position and was very productive.
“Nic’s energy was outstanding. He hasn’t played for about a year, so to play these last two games and to be as disruptive as he was, I think he had four steals and two blocks, [he] attend, bounce. He is someone we believe in and we believe has many advantages, he keeps growing and he just takes it step by step. But I was impressed and really happy that he was successful there. “
Tuesday marked Claxton’s first game since February 28, 2020. He had to struggle after a hamstring strain in December 2019, shoulder surgery in June 2020, and finally right knee tendinopathy. . But he followed his season debut against the Kings, with 10 points, four steals, three rebounds and a high-energy 15-minute block on Thursday.
Claxton said playing with James Harden and Kyrie Irving has made life easier.
“You have to respect them out there, so the field opens. I haven’t shown even half of what I have in my bag, ”Claxton said. “But he just makes it easy for someone like me. Create a lot of space and it’s one on one, and it will be fun. “
Claxton was fouled for hanging from the rim after a dunk, but said Irving and Harden have already promised to pay the bill. Irving gave Claxton “The Alchemist” to read, and it is apparently now Claxton’s nickname.
Landry Shamet had 19 points in another resurgent game.
After shooting just 25 percent from the 3-point range in December, it hit 32.7 percent last month and has hit 41.7 percent so far this month.
“Are you saying it will be above 50 percent in March? I like where you go with this, ”Nash said. “Landry is a really good shooter. We all know that. It’s just a new situation, a new environment, a new role trying to get around that corner and I think he’s started to have that confidence in what we’re doing and it’s great. “
Tyler Cook made his debut for the Nets.
The Nets have a lot of flexibility. Nash said they could bring back Andre Roberson or Iman Shumpert, recently resigned, in 10-day deals and will also watch the takeover market.
“They may be back; that’s a front office question, ”Nash said. “In the acquisitions market, that’s one of the reasons we want to be flexible in my opinion, to see how we can improve our team. I don’t think it is any different. … Especially for us with the way the list changed after the big change, we have to be flexible to keep our options open. “