The Denver Nuggets knew they were getting a powerful and energetic young player when they selected Kenneth Faried in the 2011 NBA Draft. It’s doubtful that they knew just how effective and how much potential he actually had, though.
Faried has been arguably the most consistent player for the Nuggets this season, and has been dominant and entertaining while delivering for Denver night after night. Whether he’s ferociously throwing down dunks in the lane or aggressively grabbing boards, all with his long dreadlocks swinging, Faried is a pleasure to watch.
But his value obviously goes beyond entertainment. For the season, Faried is averaging 12.3 points 9.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game and has the second-highest Player Efficiency Rating on Denver. But the advanced metrics show how much he’s meant to the Nuggets.
Faried has the fifth-highest offensive rating on Denver at 107, but also has the fourth best defensive rating on the team at 102.8. He delivers on both ends of the floor. Faried also is a force on the boards for Denver, leading the team in rebound percentage at 18.6 percent, the highest by 2.4 percent. For a team that plays at such a fast pace, grabbing boards efficiently is vital to their success. Subsequently, Faried’s contributions on the glass are critical for Denver.
He also has provided efficient offense for Denver. He’s shooting 55.7 percent from the field this season, the third-best on the team. That’s mostly because he plays smart offense, not taking many shots that are out of his skill-set. Faried has only taken 68 shots outside of the paint this season, while taking 413 in the lane. That shows his intelligence on offense, as he’s shooting 59.6 percent from in the lane and only 32.4 percent from elsewhere on the floor. He’s taking shots that he’s effective at making.
The Nuggets have something special in Faried and he’s already paying dividends for them. But even more promising for Denver is the fact that Faried is still only 23-years old. He’s roughly four years away from entering his prime and can still grow as a player.
Let’s also not forget his performance this past Friday in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge that earned him MVP honors for the game. Faried scored a game-high 40 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while shooting a ridiculous 81.8 percent from the field against some of the best young players in the league.
With what Faried is already providing for the Nuggets and the potential that he has with being so young, Denver has to look at their future and be pleased. Faried could eventually develop into one of the most dominant forwards in the league, at least that’s what it seems like and what the Nuggets are probably hoping will happen.