With their frontcourt decimated, the Nets handed Noah Clowney his first career start.

It was a tough lesson for the teenage rookie.

Clowney had seven points and 10 rebounds in Sunday’s loss to the Kings but finished a minus-26 and got muscled around all evening.

“I think we started off horrible,” Clowney told The Post. “But to be honest, starting or coming off the bench is the same thing. You want to come and bring energy from the second you’re on the court.”

He had to deal with Sacramento star Damontas Sabonis, who had 18 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists, just missing adding another triple-double to his league-leading 26.

“He’s just gotta be in it, you know? This is good for him,” interim coach Kevin Ollie said. “He’s gotta be in it and experience it, learn from it, just as long as you don’t quit in it, and he’s not gonna quit in it. These guys have been around — Sabonis is an All-Star — so hopefully he watches the tape and maybe gets something from Sabonis to bring it in his game, go lift some weights, all that stuff.

“So this is a great moment for him. He’s not gonna hang his head and get discouraged from it; he’s actually getting better from this. So, I’m glad we have these opportunities for these young guys to get out there and get some meaningful minutes against All-Star caliber players.”

Clowney, 19, joined Jarrett Allen, Derrick Favors and Cliff T. Robinson as teenagers to start a game for the Nets.

Seven teens have played for the franchise in all.

Fellow rookie Jalen Wilson also got his third career start, after both he and Clowney had played well a night earlier in their come-from-behind win over Detroit.

He had 11 points and six boards.

With starting center Nic Claxton and forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Cam Johnson all out, the move made sense.

But it was notable that Ollie opted for him at center over Day’Ron Sharpe.

“Just be a star in his role. Sometimes that changes. His job is to continue to make me want to play him, and that’s like anything,” Ollie said. “So he needs to just continue to stay ready and he’s doing that. He’s been a consummate professional, coming in, getting his work, getting his vitamin work in and staying ready. So I know when he gets his name called and plays extended minutes, he’ll be ready.”

Dennis Smith Jr. (right hip synovitis), Claxton (left ankle sprain), Finney-Smith (left knee effusion) and Johnson (left big toe sprain) were all out.

2024 © Network Today. All Rights Reserved.