The Brooklyn Nets needed to make improvements to the frontcourt in the offseason. Let’s take a look at the 2021-22 frontcourt rotation.
The Brooklyn Nets fell short of their championship goals in 2021. Injuries played a major part in their downfall, but a lack of physicality in the frontcourt was part of the equation as well.
Let’s be clear, small ball is woven into the fabric of the Nets. Early preseason action would indicate that head coach Steve Nash is ready to live with Blake Griffin as his center. We will likely see Kevin Durant at the five at some points during the season too.
However, the Nets committed to beefing up the frontcourt in the offseason with the additions of LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap, and Day’Ron Sharpe.
Let’s take a deep dive into Brooklyn’s frontcourt in the next installment of our Nets 2021-22 season preview.
X-Factor: Nic Claxton
The Nets won’t lean on Nic Claxton as much as they do on the veterans in the frontcourt, but there is no doubt that he is the X-factor on this unit. He has a unique blend of size, speed, and skill that is just waiting to be fully realized.
Although it might be tough for Claxton to steal minutes away from veterans on the roster, he has the talent to become a key contributor. The third-year big can flex between the four and the five depending on personnel.
If he can add more physicality to his game, he could be a nice compromise at the five. He has all the makings of a versatile defender and the Nets won’t need him to carry the load on offense.
Vets: Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap
Let’s throw all the veterans into one category. Blake Griffin is returning to the Nets after becoming a key part of last year’s squad. For the first time in his career, Griffin is a full-time center — albeit an undersized one. He’s willing to do the dirty work needed to make up for that.
Paul Millsap is coming to the Nets with a resumé longer than a CVS receipt. This will be Millsap’s 16th year in the NBA and although he’s most comfortable at power forward, we expect to see the Nets use him at the four and the five.
If the Nets are looking for some beef in the frontcourt, LaMarcus Aldridge is the pick. Although he’s not a great rim protector, he has the size to bang with physical centers in the Eastern Conference like Joel Embiid and Clint Capela.
Patience: Day’Ron Sharpe
Give Day’Ron Sharpe time before writing him off as a bust. With this veteran-laden frontcourt, it’s unlikely that he sees much time at all in 2021-22.
With that said, Sharpe is a long-term prospect who could develop into a competent center. He is a load at 6-foot-11 and 265 pounds. Sure, he’s raw and needs to work on his footwork, but there isn’t going to be any pressure on him to perform right away.