As the Denver Nuggets move forward into the 2013-2014 NBA season without the services of Andre Iguodala, one thing that is going to suffer is their defense. Not only is their perimeter defense going to feel the direct impact of losing Iggy, but their overall team defense, where Iguodala served as a leader and anchor, should also feel some negative effects.
Because of the defensive leader that’s no longer in Denver, though, that means that the players who are on the roster will have to step up their performance on the defensive end of the floor. One player who definitely should be under the microscope defensive and should be asked to improve is third year power forward Kenneth Faried.
Through two seasons, Faried has captured the attention of many NBA fans with his play for the Nuggets. He plays with relentless and never-ending energy when he’s on the floor, which makes him an explosive offensive player, particularly in transition, and a fantastic rebounder.
However, his energy hasn’t translated to success on the defensive end of the floor. Last season, according to Synergy, Faried ranked a mere 380th in the league defensively, allowing 0.95 points per possession. Moreover, the Nuggets were actually 1.1 points per 100 possessions worse with Faried on the floor last season than when he was on the bench.
Faried’s explosiveness gives him the ability to block shots, but the fact that he’s undersized at the power forward puts him at a disadvantage in that area. Bigger guys are able to get position on him to where he can’t get a block or to where opponents can draw a foul when Faried goes for a block that’s an issue.
Obviously the simplest thing for Faried to do would be for him to grow, but that’s not exactly something he can wish into beings. Instead, Faried has to become a smarter defender while still maintaining his energy. He has to learn how to get in better position while also harnessing his aggressiveness. By doing this, he will make it harder for opponents to score while also staying out of foul trouble more often.
At only 23 years old, there’s no doubt that Faried still has time to grow as a player, which is a promising sign for the Nuggets. As Denver tries to continue the momentum that they garnered in the regular season last year, though, the team would greatly benefit from Faried growing defensively sooner rather than later.
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