April 17, 2024 2:11 pm
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Nigeria’s James Nnaji becomes newest addition to Michael Jordan’s Hornets in the 2023 NBA Draft

Charlotte Hornets acquires young Nigerian player, James Nnaji, following the completion of the 2023 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft.

The 18-year-old Nnaji, who was born in Benue State, was the only Nigerian in the draft. He was also the second-youngest player in the draft and was drafted first in the second round (31st overall).

James Nnaji is selected 31st overall by the @celtics in the 2023 #NBADraft presented by State Farm!
James Nnaji is selected 31st overall by the @celtics in the 2023 #NBADraft presented by State Farm!

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“The Hornets selected Xavier guard Colby Jones and Washington State forward Mouhamed Gueye with the 34th and 39th picks, respectively, and agreed in principle to trade the draft rights to those players to the Boston Celtics as part of a trade with Boston to be finalized later in which the Hornets will acquire the draft rights to James Nnaji, the 31st pick,”

A 6-10 center, Nnaji spent the past two seasons playing for FC Barcelona in the Spanish ACB league and EuroLeague. In 2022-23, he saw action in 27 games, averaging 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 12.2 minutes per game, while shooting 67.1% from the field.

According to NBA’s draft note, Nnaji has excellent movement skills for a player his size and is especially impressive with how he slides his feet and defends in space.

On the offensive end, Nnaji is an impressive leaper and dunker who finishes with power. He’s great at getting open off the pick-and-roll and is a great finisher.

The Charlotte Hornets compete in the NBA as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference Southeast Division and are primarily owned by Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, who acquired a controlling interest in the team in 2010.

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