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Nuggets select Zeke Nnaji with No. 22 overall pick in 2020 NBA Draft

The Denver Nuggets have picked Zeke Nnaji with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. We break down what it means.

Arizona Wildcats forward Zeke Nnaji celebrates after get foaled by the Washington Huskies in the first half at McKale Center.  Jacob Snow-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets had the 22nd pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and selected Arizona PF Zeke Nnaji on Wednesday night virtually from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. The Nuggets got a big boost from Michael Porter Jr. in his first-ever playoff run after he missed all of 2019 because of the back injury that caused him to drop to 14th in the 2018 draft. Can this year’s first-round pick be a steal as well?

It took tremendous scoring from Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic to power the injury-plagued Nuggets through two seven-game series in last year’s playoffs. MPJ will likely step into a larger role with Jerami Grant and Paul Millsap entertaining offers from suitors this offseason. Losing two key forwards could hurt the Nuggets’ chances of making it back to the Western Conference Finals, but Bol Bol could be the next young pro to take a major step forward in his second year with the team.

First-round Pick Analysis

This isn’t a bad pick because Nnaji is a freak out of Arizona, the second Wildcats player to be drafted tonight along with Josh Green. The 6’11” power forward joins a frontcourt that includes Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol. Denver could end up losing both Paul Millsap and Jerami Grant to free agency, so bringing in another big in Nnaji makes some sense.

Nnaji is a “motor” guy who can run the floor, so at this size there’s a lot to like. Nnaji has that long body, so he can also develop into a plus-defender down low. Nnaji is a bit one-dimensional since he doesn’t operate outside of the paint too often. He’ll need to develop a mid-range jumper in order for him to become a potential starter/rotation player for Denver.