Faried is Denver Nuggets game changerWhen the Nuggets used the No. 22 pick of the 2011 draft on 6’8” and 230 pound Kenneth Faried, it was an intriguing selection. The forward out of Morehead State set the NCAA Division I modern-day rebounding record and was on his way to a team sorely in need of interior toughness. And toughness is just one of Faried’s game-changing assets …
As a member of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, (San Anotnio Spurs) Tim Duncan collected 1,570 career rebounds in his four seasons at the school. The 1996-97 campaign marked Duncan’s senior season where he set the rebounding mark (that has been tracked since 1973) that stood until Faried shattered it during his senior season (2010-11).
Faried’s new record sits at 1,673 and with the rarity of players staying four seasons in college; his record could last longer than the 14-year stretch of Duncan’s.
The Nuggets knew they were getting a fierce rebounder when they selected Faried and with so many questions facing the team heading into the current season, his role could have been a lot different. But the Nuggets were able to re-sign Nene Hilario and the emergence of Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos coupled with Chris Andersen and Al Harrington left Denver with a very crowded front-court. Two positions, just 96 minutes to divvy up, and five NBA battle tested players sitting in front of you on the depth chart … not exactly green pastures for the rookie.
Blessed with off-the-charts athleticism and a nose for the ball, it wasn’t going to be the hustle columns where Faried was lacking. His offensive game needs development, but he has been better than advertised. Faried has shown some moves in the post that have impressed and shown some maturity as he’s shooting 50% from the field. Sure, he hasn’t taken a lot of shots outside of the paint, but that’s where he should be playing. His free throw shooting has been decent for a young big man at 70.5% (24-34) on the season (an improvement over the 57.7% he shot in his final season at Morehead).
It took awhile for Karl to find consistent minutes for Faried, and it’s no secret that injuries to Danilo Gallinari, Nene, and Mozgov forced the Coach’s hand. Will Karl be able to put Faried back on the shelf once his team is healthy again? Through the first 21 games of the 2011-12 season, Faried appeared in just three games. Through 26 games, Faried appeared three more times for a total of six appearances. And over the last seven games, Faried has played in them all as he’s averaging 19.3 minutes per game and a bit of an anomaly from the Feb. 20th overtime Timberwolves game that I didn’t include where he logged a season-high 36 minutes.
Nuggets Nation should hope that Karl continues to find minutes for the exciting rookie. As we saw last night (Feb. 20th) Faried is just getting better and better as the season is wearing on and his energy and nose for the ball are difference making aspects of the game that he is using to stand-out.
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