How the Brooklyn Nets Can Be the Best Defensive Team in the NBA

Published 09/08/2021, 6:30 AM EDT
Jun 19, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) drives to the basket against the Milwaukee Bucks in the fourth quarter during game seven in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports


The Brooklyn Nets will return in full force this coming season. With Harden and Irving backing up Kevin Durant on the offence, there is hardly anyone that could stop them. However, a recent stat shows their defensive prowess, but with just one particular player on the floor.

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There is no doubt that Nets are the best offensive team in the league. However, they have to compromise on their defense in order to have the edge on offense. While Durant is a good defensive player, the others on the floor cannot have the same impact.

However, this stat may just show how Brooklyn runs deep on both ends of the floor.

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Jun 19, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) controls the ball against Milwaukee Bucks forward P.J. Tucker (17) in the first quarter during game seven in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Brooklyn Nets the best defensive team?

Not many would think of the Nets to be a great defensive team. And it is understandable, since they have all the offensive firepower one could ask for. But a stat shows that with center Nic Claxton on the floor, the Nets rank as the best defensive team in the league.

Claxton did not play a major role for the Brooklyn Nets last season, but is expected to get a great upgrade in terms of minutes. The power forward provides for the much-needed rim presence for the Nets. While they could best any team offensively, getting stops is a big part of the game.

If they cannot figure out a good defensive system, accomplished teams such as the Lakers could get through them. Hence, it is extremely important for them to have Claxton on the floor for the majority of the time. Not only does he impress with his athleticism, but his defense will be key for Brooklyn’s success.

Jun 7, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Bruce Brown (1) jumps over Milwaukee Bucks forwards P.J. Tucker (17) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) to grab a rebound in the third quarter during game two in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Claxton has not had it easy coming into the league. But how did he go from a late second-round projection to early second-round pick?

Claxton’s journey

Nicolas Claxton was never a top-ranked player coming into the draft. He was said to be a late second-round pick, but quickly upgraded to late first-round or early second. Likewise, the Brooklyn Nets picked him up with the 32nd pick in the NBA draft.

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Jun 10, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) takes a shot against Brooklyn Nets forward Nicolas Claxton (33) in the first quarter during game three in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Since then, he has received major praise from his fellow teammates. Spencer Dinwiddie even called him the second most skilled player on the team behind Kevin Durant. While it seems to be an off-take, it does show his true potential.

Last season, he averaged 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 block in 18 minutes. This season he could receive a major boost in minutes which will allow him to showcase his true skill. Moreover, he could also take the starting center role from Griffin, if the time calls for it.

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Do you think Claxton can spearhead the Nets defense? let us know in the comments below.

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Anuj Talwalkar

286 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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