In this latest instalment of draft profiles, I will be looking at Nicolas Claxton
College Team: Georgia (Sophomore)
2018-19 Stats: Over 32 games in around 32min per game he averages 13pts, 9reb, 2.5blk, 1.1stl, 1.8ast at 46% FG, 28% 3P and 64% FT.
Projected Draft Spot: Late 1st Rd – 2nd Rd
Claxton’s defensive strengths are by far his best attributes on the court. He is a great defender. His length and athleticism allow him to swat shots with efficiency, and haul in rebounds.
Offensively, Claxton does have stretch capabilities with a foundation of an outside shot. Inside Claxton has a solid set of moves near the rim, and uses his athleticism to dunk over players, or on put-backs. When he is double-teamed or the lane is clogged, Claxton is able to pass it out to open players.
Claxton is an inconsistent shooter, and when added to his hesitancy on offence then that could be a problem at the pro level and limit his effectiveness. His percentage from the charity stripe is also very low, and unless he brings that up, Claxton will be a liability in late game situations, however if he can increase his percentage then he will be able to exploit opponents into committing fouls. Claxton is also quite thin for his height and will need to build more muscle mass and strength to be able to physically handle the NBA centres and big PF’s.
Georgia lost 21 games this past season, and so some of his weaknesses could have been compounded the situation there.
In his first game at the Draft Combine, Claxton had a great outing with 7pts, 7reb and 7 blks. While he struggled offensively in the second game, but did help out with around 5 rebounds, blocks and steals (each) at the defensive end. During the shooting drills he shot quite consistently at decent percentages.
NBA Player Comparison: Clint Capela, Myles Turner
Fit with the Spurs:
The Spurs do need a third big, and they also need to look forward to the post-Aldridge era, so looking at talented big-men in the next year or two would be prudent for the Spurs. Claxton is a very capable defender and that could be his best asset for the Spurs, and he would only get better under the tutelage of Pop n Co. Offensively, the only bigs that the Spurs ran offences through in the past 20+ years have been Robinson, Duncan and Aldridge, and all of those were top 5 picks, with two being #1, so it is highly unlikely that in this wing and guard heavy league that the Spurs look to having an offensively dominant C/PF, so he makes sense in that regard. That said he has the potential to be able to produce double-double type stats if he ends up with decent minutes on court. His stretch capacity is also tantalising.
Highlights: Not many to see unfortunately.
Next Profile: Darius Bazley