“I gotta do what’s best for the team”


Zeke Nnaji is desperate to be part of the solution.

The Nuggets’ bench might best be described as a rotating cast of parts, which, lately, has included the Nuggets’ third-year big man. Last season, Nnaji moonlighted as a reserve forward, though injuries and circumstances limited his playing time. This season, amid a glut of reserve forwards, Nnaji has seen the floor as a backup center. It’s not his natural position, nor does it necessarily accentuate his skillset, but it’s what’s gotten him on the floor until now.

Nnaji’s played rotational minutes in seven of Denver’s last eight games, momentarily supplanting DeAndre Jordan’s position. Though he only made a tangible offensive impact in one of them — 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting in a one-point loss at Sacramento — he can’t quite be judged on raw box scores.

Nnaji’s impact can be felt in more nuanced areas, like running the floor hard, setting stout screens, switching on defense, communicating, and, as he described his role, bringing the energy.

“I know a lot of times we have a lot of stagnation on that second unit,” Nnaji said after practice Wednesday.


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