There are few things in life as powerful as the influence of true leadership on young, receptive minds. The Denver Nuggets have been deficient in this department for the past three years, since the departure of Chauncey Billups, and the impact has been apparent on the court.
Uncertainty about who should take the last shot, or who can be counted on to provide locker room guidance, has been as obvious at times as their lack of a transcendental player.
Kenneth Faried has recently become more vocal about his desire to put this franchise on his shoulders, and the opportunity that awaits him this summer with Team USA may be the exact platform he needs on which to base his rally cry.
Making the 16-man roster was only the first step for Faried. In light of the recent injury to Paul George and the subsequent departure of Kevin Durant from the roster, there is plenty of opportunity for Faried to establish himself as a leader among his fellow Team USA teammates.
Frankly, looking across the current roster, there aren’t many proven leaders on the squad, and they will likely be desperate for someone to stand up and take on that role. Call me crazy, but I don’t see DeMarcus Cousins, James Harden or Rudy Gay raising their hand for that responsibility.
If and when Faried is able to prove his worth as a player and as a leader on Team USA, his Nuggets teammates are sure to take notice as well. Don’t be surprised if Faried’s role on the USA Men’s National Team spills over into the NBA season.
Having some of the greatest basketball talent on the world looking your way for a spark of energy, or even some well-timed advice, will go a long way in boosting Faried’s confidence. And with that increased confidence will emerge the promise of true leadership that the Nuggets are unknowingly desperate for.
Look for Brian Shaw to take advantage of this situation as well and hand Faried more responsibility within the playbook, but more importantly, within the locker room. It certainly appears that Faried is more than willing to take on this task, and who will be better qualified than a hungry, focused, internationally tested and budding star?