Brooklyn Nets forward Nic Claxton (33) works against Toronto Raptors'...

Brooklyn Nets forward Nic Claxton (33) works against Toronto Raptors' Fred VanVleet and O.G. Anunoby for a rebound during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray) Credit: AP/Noah K. Murray

MILWAUKEE -- It’s possible that no starting lineup in the NBA features two free-throw shooters as bad as Nic Claxton and Ben Simmons.

Claxton, a first-year starter, is a career 53.7% free-throw shooter (before Wednesday) whose lowest moment came when he was 1-for-11 from the line in Game 4 of the Nets’ first-round playoff loss to the Celtics last spring.

Simmons, who did not play last season, is a career 59.7% free-throw shooter who so dislikes going to the line that he isn’t attacking the basket the way the Nets want him to.

Claxton was 1-for-2 and Simmons 0-for-2 from line in the Nets’ 110-99 loss to the Bucks on Wednesday night.

Nets coach Steve Nash, whose career 90.4% free-throw shooting is second only to Steph Curry’s 90.8% average, believes that foul shooting is actually an area where it’s possible for players to make a marked improvement over the course of their career. He then offered up Giannis Antetokounmpo as an example.

Nash said before Wednesday night’s game that one of the things he admires most about Antetokounmpo is his leadership and how, for the good of his team, he has faced down his demons at the free-throw line. Last season, Antetokounmpo made 72.2% of his foul shots, the highest percentage since 2018-19 (and was 10-for-14 Wednesday night).

“Part of his leadership is his willingness to keep going regardless of the last play or whatever that might be,” Nash said. “You see him facing some of his issues like free-throw shooting and getting past that. That comes from having the bravery to step up there with a clear mind even if you missed six of your last seven . . . . He fought through that. I think that’s leadership. That’s being a great teammate and sacrificing for the team. It’s one of the most impressive qualities he has.”








Notes and quotes. Seth Curry (ankle) is close to returning, but won’t be available for Thursday’s game against Dallas at Barclays Center. Instead, Nash said, he will be going through a practice with the Nets G League team.

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