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2023 NBA Draft: Profile of James Nnaji from Makurdi, Nigeria

June 25, 2023

Overview

James Nnaji, who turns 19 on Aug. 14, 2023,  is among the youngest players in the top 80 prospects. Standing at 6-foot-11, 226 pounds with a 7-foot-5 wingspan, Nnaji is a rotational center for FC Barcelona. Nnaji averaged just 6.0 minutes per contest in EuroLeague play, but that is common for youth players. Barcelona finished as the second-best team in the EuroLeague standings and is amid a playoff run for the fifth consecutive season. Nnaji started playing basketball in July 2016 in his home country of Nigeria, prior to moving to Ratgeber Basketball Academy in Hungary after a 2018 Facebook reel of his camp highlights went viral.

Analysis

Across 43 total contests, Nnaji averaged 3.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.5 blocks in 8.7 minutes per game. His 39 blocks in 284 minutes played equates to one block every 7.3 minutes, which is a prodigious rate. On offense, Nnaji profiles as a screener and paint-dwelling big. On defense, his agility pops, bringing rim protection and versatile, switchable upside.

Projection

Nnaji is raw. When drafted, he’ll have been playing basketball for only seven years, and his minutes in the EuroLeague were quite limited. But he has the size and instincts that create a quality foundation as a prospect. Success for Nnaji could be defined as landing a consistent backup center role as a rookie. He has similarities to paint-dominant big men like Clint Capela and Mitchell Robinson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DRAFT TRADE:

Acquired by CHA in trade with BOS

— Profile by RotoWire

 

Source: nbadraftroom

 

#James Nnaji  #NBA

 

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