Nets Notes: Whitehead, Claxton, Wilson, Schedule

Dariq Whitehead‘s appearance at the Nets’ Plaza Party on Sunday provided another reason for optimism that he’ll be ready when training camp opens, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The first-round pick out of Duke underwent a second surgery on his right foot this summer, but Lewis states that he was able to walk without a limp or a boot. While Whitehead didn’t provide any specifics about the operation or his projected return, he indicated that he’s making progress.

“Rehab is going great. Foot feeling good. Definitely not trying to give it a definite timetable right now, just trying to take it day by day,” Whitehead said. “But everything’s feeling good, and just looking forward to approaching the season, getting back to 100 percent.” 

Whitehead was the second-ranked high school player in the nation and was hoping to be a top-five pick in the draft. But issues with his foot disrupted his college career and caused him to slip to No. 22. The surgery prevented Whitehead from playing in Summer League, so he’s eager to get started with preparations for his rookie season.

“When you’re injured, you always have that urge to want to get out there and be out there on the court with the guys,” Whitehead said. “But that’s something coach Jacque (Vaughn) has preached to me since the first day I stepped in the door, about it’s a marathon not a (sprint) race.  So just knowing that I’ve got to be patient and take my time with it, and hearing that come from him, makes it a little more assuring that, all right, just take my time, get back to where I need to be, and everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.” 

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets need Nic Claxton to expand his game this season, even though it could raise his asking price when he becomes a free agent next summer, Lewis adds in another Post story. Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype told Lewis that Claxton is already in position to land a contract similar to Jakob Poeltl, who got $78MM over four years from the Raptors.
  • Second-round pick Jalen Wilson tells Ian Begley of that spending four years in college made him more ready for the NBA than he would have been if he had left early. “I know I’m a rookie but being 22, about to be 23 years old, I feel like I’m mature enough to be able to share my experiences and understand that when you have a culture, you have a foundation that you can do anything (from),” Wilson said. “Me being able to present that and being able to execute it on and off the floor, I feel like that’s an advantage I have.”
  • With the Big Three era over, the Nets only have 11 nationally televised games this season, with six of those on NBA TV, Lewis observes in an overview of the schedule. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who both asked to be traded in February, will return to the Barclays Center in the same week, with the Suns visiting on January 31 and the Mavericks following on February 6.
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