Nets' Noah Clowney Shines in Second NBA Outing

Rookie Noah Clowney showcases defensive prowess in crucial win

by Zain ul Abedin
Nets' Noah Clowney Shines in Second NBA Outing
© Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets' season finale at the Barclays Center unveiled promising signs for a franchise needing rejuvenation. Rookie sensation Noah Clowney took center stage in an electrifying display underlining his burgeoning potential in the NBA.

In only his second start, the 19-year-old power forward, who has been methodically honing his skills in the G-League, delivered a standout performance that captivated the home crowd and etched his name in the NBA annals.

Clowney tallied an impressive stat line with 10 points, seven rebounds, and seven blocks, spearheading the Nets to a nail-biting 106-102 comeback victory over the Toronto Raptors. His performance marked him as the twelfth teenager in league history to register at least seven blocks in a game, showcasing his defensive prowess.

Despite his historic night, Clowney remained modest, attributing his success to simple game dynamics. "They kept trying to lay the ball up and I kept blocking it. There ain’t much else to it," he explained, downplaying his significant achievement with a chuckle.

Clowney’s rapid ascent is particularly remarkable given his draft position; he is selected 21st overall in 2023 and is the lowest-drafted player ever to profoundly impact the defensive end so early in his career. His near-record-breaking feat fell just shy of a rookie's franchise record for blocks in a game, highlighting the potential the Nets' front office saw in him.

Since the Nets were ruled out of playoff contention, the coaching staff has increased Clowney's court time, which has paid dividends. Over the last three games, he has averaged 11.3 points on 60% shooting, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks, playing 32.6 minutes per game.

His performance crescendoed with a double-double, posting 22 points and 10 rebounds in just 17 minutes on the night the Nets were officially eliminated.

Clowney's Clutch Performance

Interim head coach Kevin Ollie praised the development staff for Clowney's swift progression.

"I gotta give [Mfon Udofia] and all the coaches down in Long Island a big-time shout-out. They did a great job coaching him, putting him in situations so when he came up, he was ready," Ollie remarked. He emphasized the importance of being prepared for opportunities, a lesson Clowney has embraced wholeheartedly.

The rookie’s pivotal moment came with just 21.6 seconds left in Wednesday’s game. After recovering from a stolen pass, Clowney blocked a crucial shot by Raptors’ guard Garrett Temple, leading to Dennis Schroder’s game-clinching free throws.

Nic Claxton, Clowney’s teammate, noted his influence on the court, saying, "He’s a catalyst for us on the defensive side of the ball." As the Barclays Center audience witnessed more of their rising star, under a four-year, $15.15 million contract according to Spotrac, teammates like Mikal Bridges acknowledged his rapid development.

"He’s shown growth so fast... he’s understanding everything and playing really well and playing hard. He’s doing an unbelievable job right now," Bridges added. With Clowney’s impressive end-of-season surge, the Nets look poised to rebuild around a new core of young, dynamic talent, promising a brighter future for the storied franchise.