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Brooklyn Nets Draft Georgia's Nicolas Claxton

Pick center No. 31 and add UCLA guard Jaylen Hands at No. 56

With the first pick of the second round in Thursday’s NBA Draft at Barclays Center, the Nets took Georgia sophomore center Nicolas Claxton with the 31st overall pick.

The Nets selected Claxton after trading the 27th pick in the first round to the Los Angeles Clippers for a first-round pick next year and the 56th pick in this year’s draft.

“I think this gave us an opportunity where, maybe a little bit of a gamble, but calculated risk that we knew we could probably get our guy that we wanted and we’re ecstatic to have Nic join the team and then also delay that first round pick another year and then pick up a second round pick as well,” said general manager Sean Marks.

The 6-foot-11, 220-pounder took a big leap in his second season with the Bulldogs, starting all 32 games and averaging 13.0 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in 31.6 minutes per game after averaging just 3.9 points per game as a freshman. Claxton also ranked ninth in the country with 2.5 blocks per game.

He was named to the All-SEC Second Team.

“We enjoyed watching him throughout the year and thrilled to have him in here and work out in front of our coaching staff, which is something we’re always pretty paramount on, getting him,” said Marks. “Loved the person, loved getting to know him and meet him, and look forward to meeting the family tomorrow. So I think there’s tremendous amount of upside there with him, the way he moves, the way I think he will eventually able to stretch the floor, the way he can handle the ball already. It’s always nice when you get a guy with that build and you can hopefully add to that frame.”

Claxton’s father, Charles, also starred for Georgia and was selected in the second round of the 1994 NBA Draft, eventually playing briefly for the Boston Celtics.

The 20-year-old was graded as a first-round selection in the early-20s on several mock draft boards. He has a 7’2.5” wingspan and is a fluid athlete, offering potential as a versatile defender, and he’s comfortable with the ball in his hands on the perimeter, but has room to grow offensively.

“We’re more focused on getting best available, who we view as that,” said Marks. “It obviously doesn’t hurt that he plays the position he does. But again I think we’re judging it on a lot of different things. It’s the upside. A guy that we think fits the modern NBA. We like the style of all that he plays, and he’s probably just scratching the surface here. So it will be intriguing for us.”

With the 56th pick, the Nets selected point guard Jaylen Hands from UCLA. A 6-foot-3, 180-pound sophomore, Hands averaged 14.2 points and 6.1 assists for the Bruins and was named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team.

“Jaylen’s an explosive young guard,” said Marks. “I’m very intrigued by him. So it will be interesting to see him and get up close and personal and get to know him and see where he goes from there.”

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