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Zeke Nnaji

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Zeke Nnaji 

Post#1 » by THE J0KER » Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:27 am

2020 Denver Nuggets #22 pick which we get from Houston using expiring Beasley and Juancho turned into Zeke Nnanji, PF/C which is under the radar before this draft. Seems like he is a personal pick and favorite of Tim Connely which was impressed by his intelligence, personality, and devotion like a big bonus to his players' skills.



We actually need one good backup center, but I'm not sure will Malone give this guy any chance during the rookie season, or he will be sent to develop in G-League. He looks already very tough for a 19y guy, with good rebounding skills and good shooting for centers standards (including over 75%FT% which would be an instant improvement over Plumlee).
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#2 » by NuggetsWY » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:48 am

Hopefully they do not sign him to a two-way; there is room for him on the bench. He can learn from there IMO. He looks like an ideal complement to Jokic - even potentially as the starting power forward in a year or two.

In the short term, I can imagine him catching lobs from Morris coming off the bench.

Nnaji
?pf?
Bates-Diop
Barton
Morris

Interesting
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#3 » by skywalker33 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:23 pm

Don't see Nnaji signed to a 2-way but could see him spending some time there if we sign another backup Center, he will need minutes to develope
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#4 » by TunaFish » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:11 pm

I can't wait to hear the first impressions from the vets and sideline reporters about this guy when training camp starts.

A very interesting pick and if he pans out, a suggestion that the 2020 draft may have been deep in talent.
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#5 » by THE J0KER » Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:05 pm

skywalker33 wrote:Don't see Nnaji signed to a 2-way but could see him spending some time there if we sign another backup Center, he will need minutes to develope

Never in the history of the NBA, some 1st round pick didn't sign a two-way contract. I think when we sign two-way with Bol Bol as #44 pick he was the highest or 2nd highest draft pick ever to sign a two-way contract. Our former 24 pick Tyler Lydon was from the start far away from NBA, but we didn't sign two-way with him, so no way we are going to sign two-way with #22 Nnaji or #24 Hampton 1st rounders.
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#6 » by The Rebel » Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:37 am

THE J0KER wrote:
skywalker33 wrote:Don't see Nnaji signed to a 2-way but could see him spending some time there if we sign another backup Center, he will need minutes to develope

Never in the history of the NBA, some 1st round pick didn't sign a two-way contract. I think when we sign two-way with Bol Bol as #44 pick he was the highest or 2nd highest draft pick ever to sign a two-way contract. Our former 24 pick Tyler Lydon was from the start far away from NBA, but we didn't sign two-way with him, so no way we are going to sign two-way with #22 Nnaji or #24 Hampton 1st rounders.


You are right, we have never signed a 1st round pick to a 2 way deal. At most I could see them telling someone to go overseas for a year and come back, but I think both of our picks will be getting regular contracts this year.
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#7 » by The Rebel » Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:45 am

When we drafted Nnaji I thought maybe we drafted him as a Center, but the more I read and watch his highlights the more I think he will be a damn good PF in our system. He is athletic and quick enough to get out of the corner and cover the rim. I think a year battling Millsap and Green in practice and watching/learning from them as well as a year working on his shot will be great for him. If he works hard I can see him having a role at PF next year, and within 2 years being a starter at PF as he would make a great pairing with Jokic.
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#8 » by skywalker33 » Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:08 am

The Rebel wrote:When we drafted Nnaji I thought maybe we drafted him as a Center, but the more I read and watch his highlights the more I think he will be a damn good PF in our system. He is athletic and quick enough to get out of the corner and cover the rim. I think a year battling Millsap and Green in practice and watching/learning from them as well as a year working on his shot will be great for him. If he works hard I can see him having a role at PF next year, and within 2 years being a starter at PF as he would make a great pairing with Jokic.


While not as defensive-minded, with your affinity for Zach Collins, I'm surprised you weren't right on top of Zeke like I was. I think he'll surpass Collins as an all-around player, I could easily see a rivalry develop between the two eventually.
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#9 » by The Rebel » Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:58 am

skywalker33 wrote:
The Rebel wrote:When we drafted Nnaji I thought maybe we drafted him as a Center, but the more I read and watch his highlights the more I think he will be a damn good PF in our system. He is athletic and quick enough to get out of the corner and cover the rim. I think a year battling Millsap and Green in practice and watching/learning from them as well as a year working on his shot will be great for him. If he works hard I can see him having a role at PF next year, and within 2 years being a starter at PF as he would make a great pairing with Jokic.


While not as defensive-minded, with your affinity for Zach Collins, I'm surprised you weren't right on top of Zeke like I was. I think he'll surpass Collins as an all-around player, I could easily see a rivalry develop between the two eventually.


I haven't paid much attention, I knew about Hampton because I remember 3 years ago someone telling me he was going to be a star. He was supposed to be a top 5 recruit and had a lot of scholarship offers to the big name schools. Then of course his deciding to go play in New Zealand just because his family needed the money (still can't figure out why he didn't just go to Kentucky or Memphis?). I couldn't believe he was projected to go late lotto-mid 1st, and was thrilled we got him. Nnaji I had never really looked at, I figured we would be looking at a backup Center or a Shooting guard with the young forwards we have on the roster. He fits the front office draft profile perfectly. He is a late bloomer, a lot of potential, may take a year to really develop the skills he is lacking, and smart.

Nnaji is a better athlete than Collins and he has a lot of potential. the question is if he will put in the work?He kind of reminds me of a young Ibaka. Who was drafted at 24th as a guy who needed another year.

Oh and while Collins is a solid defender I like him more for his attitude and look. He just makes you want to punch him in the face with that cocky smirk, and he is constantly in wrestling matches with other bigs all the time pissing them off. That guy gets rid of the soft label on the team all by himself. He will do everything he can to put the other team's star on their ass if they mess with Jokic or Murray.
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#10 » by TunaFish » Wed Nov 25, 2020 3:34 am

Some impressive shooting in this drill:

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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#11 » by skywalker33 » Wed Nov 25, 2020 3:57 am

TunaFish wrote:Some impressive shooting in this drill:

Read on Twitter


Maybe RJ needs to hang out with him or his shooting coach !! Liking what I see here.
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#12 » by NuggetsWY » Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:30 pm

skywalker33 wrote:
TunaFish wrote:Some impressive shooting in this drill:
Read on Twitter

Maybe RJ needs to hang out with him or his shooting coach !! Liking what I see here.

I was never a great outside shooter and I'm certainly not an expert on shooting styles, but I like his point of release and his motion seems good to me.
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#13 » by The Rebel » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:20 pm

https://www.denverpost.com/2020/11/29/zeke-nnaji-nuggets-role-nba-draft-lockdown-defender/

Nice article about Nnaji, I like that he seems to realize his most important skill is going to be as a defender in our system.

Maybe I am crazy, but watching his highlights and reading up on this guy I almost wonder if he will not be ready for minutes early in the season? He has the athleticism we need at PF and his shot while still developing is not bad at least from the long 2 range.
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#14 » by NuggetsWY » Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:37 pm

The Rebel wrote:https://www.denverpost.com/2020/11/29/zeke-nnaji-nuggets-role-nba-draft-lockdown-defender/

Nice article about Nnaji, I like that he seems to realize his most important skill is going to be as a defender in our system.

Maybe I am crazy, but watching his highlights and reading up on this guy I almost wonder if he will not be ready for minutes early in the season? He has the athleticism we need at PF and his shot while still developing is not bad at least from the long 2 range.

Nice article - love the defensive attitude.

Will he be ready for minutes early this season? Perhaps, but Jokic, Millsap, Green will get the majority of minutes at PF & Center. Hell be competing with Whittington, Cancar, Hartenstein, Bol for the deep minutes. He'll have to really impress Malone in order to get many minutes --- but, yeah, I actually think it a possibility. He seems like such a perfect fit.
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#15 » by TunaFish » Sun Nov 29, 2020 11:17 pm

Nnaji is an interesting prospect. Here is his draft scouting video:

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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#16 » by skywalker33 » Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:37 am

TunaFish wrote:Nnaji is an interesting prospect. Here is his draft scouting video:



Definitely knows his way around the low-post and he's got finishing skills. If he projects ANY defensive skill-set we may have a frontline third to partner with Jokic and MPJ
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#17 » by skywalker33 » Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:40 am

NuggetsWY wrote:
The Rebel wrote:https://www.denverpost.com/2020/11/29/zeke-nnaji-nuggets-role-nba-draft-lockdown-defender/

Nice article about Nnaji, I like that he seems to realize his most important skill is going to be as a defender in our system.

Maybe I am crazy, but watching his highlights and reading up on this guy I almost wonder if he will not be ready for minutes early in the season? He has the athleticism we need at PF and his shot while still developing is not bad at least from the long 2 range.

Nice article - love the defensive attitude.

Will he be ready for minutes early this season? Perhaps, but Jokic, Millsap, Green will get the majority of minutes at PF & Center. Hell be competing with Whittington, Cancar, Hartenstein, Bol for the deep minutes. He'll have to really impress Malone in order to get many minutes --- but, yeah, I actually think it a possibility. He seems like such a perfect fit.


Better question is Will Malone be ready to PROVIDE HIM MINUTES ?
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#18 » by NuggetsWY » Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:57 am

skywalker33 wrote:
NuggetsWY wrote:
The Rebel wrote:https://www.denverpost.com/2020/11/29/zeke-nnaji-nuggets-role-nba-draft-lockdown-defender/

Nice article about Nnaji, I like that he seems to realize his most important skill is going to be as a defender in our system.

Maybe I am crazy, but watching his highlights and reading up on this guy I almost wonder if he will not be ready for minutes early in the season? He has the athleticism we need at PF and his shot while still developing is not bad at least from the long 2 range.

Nice article - love the defensive attitude.

Will he be ready for minutes early this season? Perhaps, but Jokic, Millsap, Green will get the majority of minutes at PF & Center. Hell be competing with Whittington, Cancar, Hartenstein, Bol for the deep minutes. He'll have to really impress Malone in order to get many minutes --- but, yeah, I actually think it a possibility. He seems like such a perfect fit.


Better question is Will Malone be ready to PROVIDE HIM MINUTES ?

Careful there; when I talk like that, Rebel likes to jump in and defend Malone. :lol:
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#19 » by TunaFish » Mon Nov 30, 2020 2:32 am

skywalker33 wrote:
NuggetsWY wrote:
The Rebel wrote:https://www.denverpost.com/2020/11/29/zeke-nnaji-nuggets-role-nba-draft-lockdown-defender/

Nice article about Nnaji, I like that he seems to realize his most important skill is going to be as a defender in our system.

Maybe I am crazy, but watching his highlights and reading up on this guy I almost wonder if he will not be ready for minutes early in the season? He has the athleticism we need at PF and his shot while still developing is not bad at least from the long 2 range.

Nice article - love the defensive attitude.

Will he be ready for minutes early this season? Perhaps, but Jokic, Millsap, Green will get the majority of minutes at PF & Center. Hell be competing with Whittington, Cancar, Hartenstein, Bol for the deep minutes. He'll have to really impress Malone in order to get many minutes --- but, yeah, I actually think it a possibility. He seems like such a perfect fit.


Better question is Will Malone be ready to PROVIDE HIM MINUTES ?


If he is talented enough to play, Malone will play him. Like every rookie, Malone and his staff will groom and train all the rookies, including RJ and Bol. Remember Jokic played immediately only to be benched. Malone gave him some time out of the starting lineup and then moved Nurkic to the bench around mid December moving Jokic into the starting center spot. Murray backed up Mudiay until his talent pushed him into the starting line up. MPJ who needed some time was slowly integrated into the rotation and ended up a starter in the bubble.

If Nnaji can play, Malone will find a spot, same for R.J. and same for Bol. I expect all three to get quality minutes on the bench.
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Re: Zeke Nnaji 

Post#20 » by The Rebel » Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:41 am

TunaFish wrote:
skywalker33 wrote:
NuggetsWY wrote:Nice article - love the defensive attitude.

Will he be ready for minutes early this season? Perhaps, but Jokic, Millsap, Green will get the majority of minutes at PF & Center. Hell be competing with Whittington, Cancar, Hartenstein, Bol for the deep minutes. He'll have to really impress Malone in order to get many minutes --- but, yeah, I actually think it a possibility. He seems like such a perfect fit.


Better question is Will Malone be ready to PROVIDE HIM MINUTES ?


If he is talented enough to play, Malone will play him. Like every rookie, Malone and his staff will groom and train all the rookies, including RJ and Bol. Remember Jokic played immediately only to be benched. Malone gave him some time out of the starting lineup and then moved Nurkic to the bench around mid December moving Jokic into the starting center spot. Murray backed up Mudiay until his talent pushed him into the starting line up. MPJ who needed some time was slowly integrated into the rotation and ended up a starter in the bubble.

If Nnaji can play, Malone will find a spot, same for R.J. and same for Bol. I expect all three to get quality minutes on the bench.


LMAO, 1 thing Malone seems to like is smart, hardworking, competitive guys. While many fans of other teams think there are problems between Malone and MPJ, Malone smiled when they asked him about it in the press conference, he likes that fire and competitiveness. Most coaches would have benched him, Malone called plays for him the next game. Murray, Harris, Jokic, Craig, Barton (many forget he was an end of bench guy in Portland), Juancho, and MPJ all found ways off the bench in their 1st year under Malone. Morris was basically named the backup PG of his 1st training camp off his 2 way. Craig had earned a spot in the rotation and had to be sent to the Gleague just so they didn't break the rules his 1st year under the 2 way. Those are all guys who are contributing on good teams or starting on bad teams this year. You know who isn't?

Tyler Lydon who I don't think is signed yet. Trey Lyles is a backup PF on a non playoff team, hoping to keep his job on a rebuilding team. Thomas Welsh is still waiting for a call. We cut KBD off a non-guaranteed deal, he was a part time starter in Minnesota.

The 1 he didn't play that is showing his abilities is Beasley, but judging by his actions the last 2 years, he sure seems immature at best.

Whether anyone wants to face it or not our bench was terrible last year. The only 2 we had that were really worth a damn all season was Morris and MPJ, that is a fact. Grant was good man to man, but he was spending a lot of his time guarding guys like Trey Lyles and such, and missing a lot of rotations early in the season. You can talk all you want about Millsap and Harris's issues, about iso Barton, but they were 1 of the best lineups of the season.

Malone has shown a long history of playing talented, smart, good players when they are ready. They have to prove it though, and I think that the front office knew 2 years ago our bench was going to be a long term problem. I believe that there is an open competition for both forward positions and all the backup minutes on the roster this year. I think that the guy's who are better will get those minutes, and I expect they all know it. Campazzo wasn't only talking to us, Green and Millsap both signed really fast for being backup options, Hartenstein had other offers, Whittington reportedly had other teams looking at him as well.

These guys signed here quickly because they were promised a chance at minutes. The front office has openly talked about it being an open competition. Why wouldn't our rookies get the same opportunity?

Nnaji has some very real natural defensive talent and instincts with a decent shot. He is pretty raw, but he is developing quickly. I think depending on what Hampton has done since he got back to the states that they both have an outside chance to earn minutes this year.

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