Brooklyn Nets breakout star Nic Claxton believes he’s worthy candidate to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year this season. After all, the fourth-year center is averaging career-high numbers.
“I think I should be No. 1,” the 23-year-old told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, when asked about his chances of winning the award. “I’m defending one through five and neck and neck as the leading shot blocker.”
Based on a few NBA betting sites, Nic Claxton has the third-best odds to win Defensive Player of the Year. Multiple sportsbooks are giving Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brook Lopez better odds of winning the award.
Nic Claxton is has truly been special on the defensive side of the basketball this year pic.twitter.com/9nR3Kl1lvn
— Brooklyn Netcast (@BrooklynNetcast) January 17, 2023
“I’m doing everything on the defensive end for the team anchoring the defense every single night,” added Nic Claxton. “I think I should be right there. Definitely.”
Through 39 starts, the Georgia product is averaging career highs of 11.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.7 blocks per game. He’s shooting a career-best 73.2% from the field as well.
Despite stiff competition, Nic Claxton believes he should be the No. 1 candidate to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year
On Dec. 16, in the Nets’ 119-116 win against the Toronto Raptors, the Defensive Player of the Year candidate ended his outing with 15 points, 10 boards, one steal, and a career-high six blocks in 26 minutes played.
Additionally, Nic Claxton grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks (Nov. 7), Los Angeles Clippers (Nov. 12), and Boston Celtics (Dec. 4).
Nic Claxton is dominating on the defensive end. pic.twitter.com/xsyiorV8uE
— BBall Index (@The_BBall_Index) January 13, 2023
Claxton leads the NBA in blocks per game, field goal percentage, and true shooting percentage (70.5%). Also, he ranks second in blocks (104), 17th in win shares (4.6), eighth in defensive win shares (2.1), fourth in offensive rating (131), second in defensive rating (106.7), and second in block percentage (8.1%).
During the offseason, Nic Claxton signed a two-year, $17.25 million contract with Brooklyn. It appears Nets G.M. Sean Marks made the correct decision bringing him back. His outstanding defensive performances this season were unexpected. Claxton continues to lead the Nets in boards and blocks.
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