Tom Crean was Nic Claxton’s college coach his second year at Georgia when the near 7-footer made enormous progress, going from averaging 3.9 points and an equal number of rebounds in 14.7 minutes as a freshman to 13.0 points and 8.6 rebounds in his second year.
Crean is always been a big fan of the Nets big man and over the weekend, Crean laid out just how big...
The more I study and watch NBA ball screen offense and defense, the more I believe @_claxton33 is going to be an ABSOLUTE FORCE in the League for a long long time. He is quick, plays low, has great feet , flexible hips, length and great balance. Go @BrooklynNets ! pic.twitter.com/9ilDHh9X6B— Tom Crean (@TomCrean) June 19, 2020
Of course, his Nets teammates have been saying much the same since training camp opened way back in October. Spencer Dinwiddie, who has said that he thought Claxton was “second-most talented player” on the team, pointed out that Crean is not alone in his estimation.
I believe someone already alluded to this... https://t.co/tTU4cZXwxL— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) June 20, 2020
Claxton, of course, averaged only 4.4. points and 2.9 boards for Brooklyn, focusing instead on his development. Out on Long Island, Claxton was a force, averaging 16.7 and 7.9 with a shooting line of 66/56/76 and a reputation.
As C.J. Williams, Long Island’s veteran player, said of him, “probably the biggest compliment I can give him [is] he handled our games as if it was the NBA Finals Game 7 every game. Every single game.”
Crean was also big on the Nets selection of Claxton at the top of the second round last June... and since, even if he had to deal with typical rookie setbacks.
Nic Claxton's new Nets role won't change with rough night. Our @UGABasketball loss was definitely the @BrooklynNets gain. Nic is going to get better every day and week. Just like he did with us. We miss him but we are so proud of him. https://t.co/shwwx2yDZA— Tom Crean (@TomCrean) November 20, 2019
And Crean has supported Claxton despite his limited minutes at Barclays Center...
Nic Claxton has Nets dreaming about what's to come: 'He's a beast'. It’s only a matter of time for @_claxton33 to play up to all of that talent and potential. It’s going to be fun to watch. https://t.co/6dVdIQgAWU— Tom Crean (@TomCrean) March 26, 2020
Will Claxton be a force this season at the Orlando “bubble?” It’s unlikely with DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen fighting for minutes at the 5. But there’s plenty of time. He’s in the first year of a three-year deal.