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Nic Claxton: ‘We have everything we need’

Brooklyn Nets v Chicago Bulls Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

So much of the talk throughout pre-season and early in regular season revolved around who the Nets should get to either play the 5 or back-up the 5. Get beyond discussions of the KD and Ky sagas and Steve Nash’s coaching ability and you’ll see fans texted and talked endlessly about who the Nets should trade to get Myles Turner or John Collins? Or who they should bring in for workouts, DeMarcus Cousins? Derrick Favors? Hassan Whiteside?

That is less an issue now with Nic Claxton dominating on the court and on leader boards, currently topping the NBA in both blocks per game and shooting percentage. Claxton himself thinks the Nets will go forward with their current roster ... briefly noting fan calls for Sean Marks to find another big.

“I hope so,” he told Meghan Triplett post-game Friday night when asked if the Nets will keep the current roster. “Everybody, especially earlier in the season, ‘oh, they need this, they need a big, they need that,’ but we have everything we need when everybody is on the court, locked in, and we’re all scrambling, playing hard.”

“We have enough length to where it gives us bigger guys fits like it did tonight against a Valanciunas. So, yeah, we good with everything we got in the locker room and we just got to keep building.”

There’s been little to no trade speculation about the Nets, who after all are the hottest team in the NBA at the moment. Why mess with what works? Particularly when the Nets were so successful last off-season when they extended Claxton and Patty Mills, traded for Royce O’Neale and signed T.J. Warren, Edmond Sumner, Markieff Morris and Yuta Watanabe all to minimum deals. That seems to be working pretty well. Depth is a Nets strength right now.

Indeed, the Nets haven’t made any significant moves since they signed David Duke Jr. to the second two-way deal on September 16. (On November 14, they traded G League rights to Marcus Zegarowski, their 2021 draft pick, for those of Vrenz Bleijenbergh, a 6’11” Belgian point forward whose rights were held by the Bulls.)

They do have a minor deadline coming up: by January 20, they must guarantee the two-way deals of Duke and Alondes Williams.

Despite some Nets fans desire to keep working the trade machine looking for a 5, Claxton is basking in his success at the position. This week, he finished ninth in the first tranche of All-Star balloting for Eastern Conference frontcourt players.

“Yeah. It was a surprise to me. It’s definitely a big deal. But it just makes you want to climb up on that list even higher. So I’ve just got to stick with it and keep doing what I’m doing,” Claxton said before Friday night’s game. “I feel like I can play even better, I can be more consistent. I can produce even more when I’m out there. So I’m not getting complacent. That’s good that my name is on that list, but I still have a lot more work to do.”