Stock fading: Zeke Nnaji
The 2020 first-round pick signed a four-year $32 million extension with the Nuggets in October. Getting $8 million per season is below the mid-level exception at this point, but most believed it solidified the 22-year-old’s place in the rotation. He has a player option in the summer of 2027, but the long-term deal has not resulted in more run.
Nnaji is averaging just 10.9 minutes per game through the first 11 contests. The 6’9 forward has played over 15 minutes just once and nine points and five rebounds are his season highs. Nnaji averages 3.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks each night.
There are not many positive takeaways from the first three weeks for Nnaji. He is playing primarily backup center behind Nikola Jokic with just four percent of his minutes coming at the four per Basketball-Reference. With the Joker playing 35-plus every night, there will never be a massive role behind him.
Zeke Nnaji must play more than ten minutes per game to live up to his contract extension. The 22-year-old still has time and room to grow but may need a new team to get the role he desires. Nnaji has been disappointing to start the year, but other players are stepping up for the Nuggets.