In the off-season, the Denver Nuggets were touted to be one of the best teams without a superstar or a budding star; a team without a LeBron, a Kevin, a Derrick, a Dwight, or a Chris. They were just a team; a collection of good players that could merge together and become better than average without utilizing the innate powers of one name.
While an NBA Finals has evaded this team, it would be ridiculous to skirt them under the rug without acknowledging one gift that Denver has in their possession, that has eluded the juggernauts of the NBA.
Kenneth Faried, a second-year player that hails from Morehead State, is an interesting character. Once proclaimed as “not having the ability or size to be a threat to an NBA player” has proved himself — and continues to do so — to be a conqueror of rebounds.
Kenneth Faried is aligning himself to be synonymous with ‘impact player.’
He’s not of traditional size for a power forward — yes, he is undersized — nor does he attack the game of basketball in a traditional way. It’s because of the relentless energy, they way he uses his athleticism and power to clean the glass that makes him hypnotic to watch.
He has this eye for an offensive rebound similar to Mr. Miyagi snatching the house fly with his chopsticks; Faried sees a rebound — especially the offensive ones — as a challenge. It’s as if his eyes were trained in the womb to see a missed shot, and his animal instincts take over and he becomes a rebounding assailant.
Faried may not have the polished skills that would propel him into elitism, but he does possess a heart and drive that is often overlooked as admirable and impactful characteristics in an NBA player.
Just as statistics can not relay how vital mental toughness is to an NBA player, there isn’t a quantitative metric for heart. There isn’t a mathematical equation that can measure how important Faried’s bleeding passion and heart for basketball translates to positives for Denver.
He has the heart, drive, physical presence combined with an understanding of the game, energy, and he has the ability to foresee a rebound before it occurs. It’s as if he had a “rebounding radar” mechanism attached to the back of his neck and once a soon-to-be missed shot is detected, this radar goes off “Bleep. Bleep. Bleep .Bleeeeeeeeepppp.” and Faried is soaring through the air.
Even if you are a boxscore watcher, the numbers don’t lie; this season, he is averaging 13.2 points on 54.2% in the field, 11.5 rebounds (5th in league and tied with Dwight Howard) — 5.5 offensive — per game. Per 36 minutes, 15.6 points, and 13.2 boards over 12 games. Faried is still leading the league with offensive rebounds — 66 total — and has an offensive rebounding percentage of 19.6%.
In the past 5 games, Faried has averaged 12.2 points, 12.6 rebounds, and has accumulated a double-double in 6 of his last 8 games.
With metrics or without, it’s simple to assess that Kenneth Faried is Denver’s greatest impact player.