Nic Claxton of the Brooklyn Nets does not fear playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Playoffs. The 6-foot-11 center recently responded to reports that the Cavaliers are privately hoping to face the Nets in the playoffs.
Nic Claxton on the #Cavs reportedly wanting to face the #Nets in the playoffs: "We'll match up with anybody. We’re just trying to take it game-by-game, win as many games as we can & get as high a seed as possible. And if that's our matchup, then we'll take care of them.”
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) March 21, 2023
As it currently stands, the Cavaliers are in fourth place while the Nets are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Therefore, if the playoffs started today, the Cavaliers would play the New York Knicks.
With less than three weeks remaining in the regular season, though, there is still plenty of time for the current standings to be shaken up. The Nets are only two games behind the Knicks in the standings and the Miami Heat are only one game behind the Nets.
The Nets are far from the same team they were when the season started. With the departure of high-profile superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn is now powered by a core group of Claxton, Spencer Dinwiddie, Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson with significant contributions from players like Dorian Finney-Smith, Cam Thomas, Royce O’Neal, Seth Curry and other role players.
Meanwhile, Ben Simmons remains without a timetable to return. While this group may not look like the most dangerous bunch on paper, it has been very competitive in recent weeks and can create matchup problems for any team in the East with its length and shooting.
The Cavaliers on the other hand are a very dangerous team on paper and on the court. Donovan Mitchell has been leading the way for the Cavaliers, averaging 27.4 points, 4.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game in the 2022-23 season. Darius Garland has been an excellent second option, averaging 21.9 points and 7.8 assists this season.
Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert and Evan Mobley are the other core contributors for this Cavs team, making them very dangerous indeed.
If Claxton and the Nets do wind up facing off against the Cavaliers in the playoffs, they’ll be going up against a team that is both top five in defense and top 10 in offense. That’s a tall task for any team in the NBA to have to deal with, let alone a team like the Nets that don’t have any true stars on their roster.