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Nic Claxton and Noah Clowney: A Promising Frontcourt Pairing for the Minnesota Timberwolves

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The Brooklyn Nets, long known for their perimeter-oriented “small-ball” approach, might be exploring a new strategy. Center Nic Claxton recently spoke about the potential of himself and rookie forward Noah Clowney as a starting frontcourt pairing. This shift in philosophy is highlighted in a tweet by Erik Slater:

“@erikslater_ Asked Nic Claxton about the upside of him and Noah Clowney as a frontcourt pairing: ‘The league is not all about small-ball anymore. You see a lot of teams that have two bigs on the court, they have more size on the court, and that’s been an area that we’ve really lacked in the past. So maybe that’ll be something that can fix those problems.'”

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Nic Claxton comments suggest the Nets might be embracing a more traditional big-man approach.

“Small-ball,” a strategy emphasizing speed, perimeter shooting, and switchability on defense, took the NBA by storm in the early 2010s. Teams like the Golden State Warriors found success with smaller, more versatile lineups that could exploit mismatches and space the floor for shooters.

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However, the league is starting to see a shift back towards size. Teams are recognizing the value of having a strong presence in the paint for rebounding, rim protection, and interior scoring. The success of teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid respectively, highlights the continued importance of dominant big men.

The Nets Experiment: Nic Claxton and Noah Clowney as a Twin Tower Pairing

Nic Claxton, a young, athletic centre with defensive potential, and Noah Clowney, a high-motor rookie forward with a developing offensive skillset, offer the Nets an intriguing frontcourt combination. Their size could address Brooklyn’s weakness in recent seasons, particularly on the defensive end.

A twin-tower lineup could bolster the Nets’ rebounding, a major weakness in past seasons. Claxton and Clowney’s size would also provide a stronger presence at the rim, deterring opponents from driving to the basket. Additionally, both players have the potential to contribute offensively in the paint, creating scoring opportunities inside.

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