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Vaughn: Nets star Nic Claxton is ‘tired’

Nic Claxton

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Vaughn: Nets star Nic Claxton is ‘tired’

After the Brooklyn Nets’ final game of the first half, on Wednesday, Feb. 15, head coach Jacque Vaughn addressed the media.

Vaughn mentioned the stellar play of Nic Claxton, and Vaughn is right: Claxton is having a career season in every measurable category.

Claxton’s season has been star-studded, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The 6-foot-11 center is averaging 2.6 blocks per game, the second-highest figure in the league.

Defensive rating is a statistic that measures how many points a player allows per 100 possessions. Claxton is amongst the best in the league again, filing in at fifth in the league in this category.

With the exceptional play of the 23-year-old center comes a serious uptick in minutes.

“He is tired and he has been tired,” Vaughn said during his presser. “You see tonight, four minutes into the game, Nic Claxton was tired. I said it before the game, it was already on my mind, I’m already thinking about how can I get him through this game and get us to a win. He’s given us everything he’s had. Played more minutes this year than the last two combined. So that’s why he played 20 minutes at the Garden. We’re trying to figure out how can we get this dude to the end line to get to some recovery over the All-Star break.”

Now that the All-Star break is here, Claxton is resting and preparing for the back half of a season and a potential playoff push for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Vaughn’s point is proven in the statistics. Claxton has played in 54 of Brooklyn’s 58 games, averaging over 29 minutes per game. Claxton already played double the amount of minutes this season than he did in the last two combined.

1,592 minutes is the exact number so far. That is an astronomical workload for the first half of the season, especially for a player that has never dealt with playing as much in his whole career.

The Defensive Player of the Year candidate has a legitimate case for the award. It will be hard to catch fellow 23-year-old Jaren Jackson Jr., but Claxton currently has the third-lowest odds for the award at +700 per BetMGM.

Hopefully, Vaughn and Brooklyn can figure out Claxton’s minutes down the stretch so we can see him play a full season. Man, he has been fun to watch!

Spencer Dinwiddie called this in 2019, by the way.

***

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