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Nuggets announce they have picked up Zeke Nnaji’s third-year option

The Nuggets first round draft pick from 2020 is here to stay.

Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Today, the Denver Nuggets announced they have officially picked up Zeke Nnaji’s third-year option for the 2022-23 season.

Denver selected Nnaji with the 22nd pick of the 2020 NBA draft out of the University of Arizona. Nnaji played sparingly for the Nuggets last season, appearing in 42 games averaging just 9.5 minutes per game. Where Nnaji really made his mark was three-point shooting as he made 24 of the 59 threes he attempted averaging 40.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Even though he did not play that much, you could tell the talent was there with Nnaji. There was no g-league team for him to play on last season so all of his experience came in the NBA. It may be a different story this year as the Nuggets finally have a g-league team in the Grand Rapids Gold. This will allow younger players on the roster — such as Nnaji — to get more experience and hopefully build that confidence to help them grow into players who may be able to contribute for the Nuggets one day.

Nnaji did not have the best of summer leagues with the Nuggets this past offseason, but he looks more like the player he did last season through two preseason games which is a positive sign. What’s really been encouraging about Nnaji’s start this year is his rebounding numbers as he’s currently averaging 5.5 boards per game, which is four more than he averaged (1.5) last season.

Denver Nuggets v LA Clippers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

If Nnaji can continue to rebound the basketball and couple it with solid three-point shooting he definitely has a role on this Nuggets team. The Nuggets obviously believe in him after picking up his option so hopefully Nnaji grows into a player who contributes sooner rather than later.