The Brooklyn Nets have a young core that they've had to turn to because of things like Kyrie Irving's absence, Joe Harris' ankle injury, and other various setbacks. And while that stuff bums us out, one silver lining has been that it's opened the door for more of the team's young core and given us the chance to get to know them better.
Let's count down 6 funny Nets' moments involving the young core
6) “They can't do nothing with me”
Nic Claxton had missed 17 consecutive games with a non-COVID illness. When he finally returned to the lineup, coach Nash made clear the team would be conservative with his return because they did not expect his conditioning to be where it needed to be for a full workload early on.
“Our rotations are pretty solid right now,” explained Steve Nash, in early December. “So it’s not like he’s coming back to play 25 minutes a night, but we want to give him opportunities to grow and prove his fitness,” said Nash.
But Claxton may not have had the same patient mindset in terms of his ramp-up. Let's just say his confidence returned faster than his conditioning.
Claxton was inserted into a huge game in Dallas and made life very difficult for Luka Doncic and company. The Nets held the Mavs to just 13 fourth-quarter points at home securing a 102-99 win.
Asked if the team should utilize a switch-heavy scheme featuring Clax more often, the Georgia product, who oozes confidence, didn't hold back.
“I mean we should. Teams don't like that, especially when I get out there. They can't do nothing with me. I'm up there guarding and it just creates havoc.”
"I mean we should, [switch everything]," said Nic Claxton. "Teams don't like that, especially when I get out there. They can't do nothing with me. I'm up there guarding and it just creates havoc."
Claxton on his dust up with Luka, and how he wants Nets to run "55-45%" switching pic.twitter.com/tLYGP7yOMp
— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) December 8, 2021
He played great and changed that entire ball game. It's just funny to hear him say “they can't do nothing with me” when talking about checking a superstar like Doncic. But he backed it up and the road warrior Nets stole another big one.
5) Claxton credits James Harden with influencing his drip
After a loss to the Golden State Warriors, James Harden still had a “moist drip” as new book The Joy of Basketball might put it.
The Beard had a pink polar bear style fur, and “sex” pants.
"Watch some film with it, continue to get better, try to be better tomorrow night an just continue to build."
James Harden was humbled after losing to the Warriors, yet still rocked the pink polar bear coat and 'sex' pants pic.twitter.com/m6Ilqy0grD
— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) November 17, 2021
Well after a win over Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks, the third-year big tipped cap to The Beard for influencing his recent style.
Nic Claxton said James Harden has influenced his wardrobe. pic.twitter.com/333CwnN9IU
— Alex Schiffer (@Alex__Schiffer) December 11, 2021
After playing so well and slowing down both Luka one night then Ice Trae the next, Claxton earned a little something extra in his post-game fit.
4) “I been doing that since I was a baby, for real.”
Recently rookie walking bucket Cam Thomas was asked if any of the recent moves he's flashed were things he picked up from Kyrie Irving back in training camp or was it stuff he'd always had in his bag?
Here is the type of shot which inspired the question, following his career-high 18 point game in Houston.
Cam Thomas trying to keep the Nets (-3.5) in the game with these buckets 😱pic.twitter.com/Ss726zBbSh
— ClutchPoints Betting (@CPBetting) December 9, 2021
Killa-Cam did seem to want to make crystal clear he'd always had the goods in his arsenal.
“No that's my game before I got here,” said Thomas, who dropped double-figure points in five of his last nine appearances. He has seen his role increase as Joe Harris (ankle surgery) has been unavailable.
“I always did stuff like that. Of course, you see [Kyrie Irving around during training camp], you ask him questions, but I always had that. That's my game really. I been doing that since I was a baby for real.”
"No that's my game before I got here. I always did stuff like that. Of course you see [Kyrie], you ask him questions, but I always had that. That's my game really. I been doing that since I was a baby for real."#Nets Cam Thomas was asked if he picked up some moves from Kyrie pic.twitter.com/IRzsjIQFdj
— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) December 9, 2021
We'll have to check in with YES Network's Michael Grady to see if he can dig up any of the footage Cam's referencing to check how nasty baby Cam's hesi actually was.
3) Nets' Kessler Edwards goes full UFC on James Johnson in celebration
LaMarcus Aldridge got a clutch put-back against the Orlando Magic back on November 19th. YES Network shows a quick cutaway of the bench enjoying the moment. But watch carefully and you can see the 2021 second-round pick throw a fist pump a little too…vociferously. He drops a hammer-fist on a teammate who has most certainly been hit with some of those before.
Kessler Edwards accidentally pounds James Johnson on the bench in celebration of LaMarcus Aldridge’s put back. pic.twitter.com/pejToaSbaq
— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) November 20, 2021
James Johnson is a black belt, trained in mixed martial arts. Many regard him as the NBA player you'd least like to tangle with. There may be some players bigger or stronger than the 6'8” 240 lbs Johnson. But there is probably no player with as much hand-t0-hand combat training as the Nets reserve heavyweight.
Kess might want to watch where he's swinging his fists or the next time the Nets big man hits a put-back, Johnson might “celebrate” Kessler into a guillotine.
2) “Seven, Seven, I'm open!”
Kevin Durant talks about Cam Thomas calling for the ball when he was open tonight 😂
"I like that he wants that moment" pic.twitter.com/KGUVfSbeqj
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) December 11, 2021
It's hilarious to hear Kevin Durant impersonate his rookie-teammate Cam Thomas. Recently Kevin Durant was asked if Thomas looked him off.
“Nah he did not look me off, he know better than that. He screamed my name, one of 'em. He screamed my name ‘seven, seven, seven I'm open!' I'm like Cam, I see you, dog. But I like that he wants that moment.”
C'mon Seven, look up! Hearing KD impersonate Cam screaching for the ball calling one of the greatest players of all time “seven” is its own delightful form of comedy. Hopefully Cam gives us more material via KD.
1) Cam Thomas claims he beat KD in 1-on-1, KD walks in minutes later to set the record straight
This one was especially funny because it happened in real-time. Just minutes after Thomas addressed reporters, claiming he beat KD in 1-on-1, Durant came out having heard what the Nets rookie said and set the record straight.
"Me and KD just be trash talking…I say 'I think I'm a better scorer than him at my age than he was' and he doesn't believe that. Then he never wants to play me 1 on 1. Cause we played 1 on 1 in shoot around 1 time…I beat him. Don't tell him that. I beat him."
-Cam Thomas pic.twitter.com/46kzT3Vim4
— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) November 23, 2021
“Me and KD just be trash talking,” said Thomas after dropping 11 points in just 15 minutes in a big road win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. “I say ‘I think I'm a better scorer than him at my age than he was' and he doesn't believe that. Then he never wants to play me 1-on-1. ‘Cause we played 1-on-1 in shoot around 1 time…I beat him. Don't tell him that. I beat him.”
Uh oh, then the two-time NBA Finals MVP walked out. Make sure to listen to his reply.
Kevin Durant heard what Cam Thomas said earlier about beating him in their 1-on-1 matchups at shootaround and didn't hold back 😂
*looks at stat sheet* "Little 4-for-7, you know he feeling himself when he come in…he gonna come in here and fabricate" pic.twitter.com/d6wLJKl8Sy
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) November 23, 2021