Over the next few weeks, the Denver Stiffs staff will be previewing the 2016-17 Denver Nuggets. The team enters Michael Malone's second season with the Nuggets with a mix of new and familiar faces. With a roster mixed with young talent like Jamal Murray and more experienced veterans like Wilson Chandler, the Nuggets are looking to improve on their 33-49 record from last season.
Kenneth Faried is entering his sixth season for the Nuggets, but for the Manimal 2016-17 will bring a lot of questions regarding his future in a Denver uniform. From a basketball standpoint, whether for good or for bad you always know what you’re going to get with Faried. It’s almost incredible how consistent his numbers have been for his first five seasons in the league: 12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds on 54.4 percent shooting. These numbers are good but the issue with Faried is that he hasn’t gotten much better on either end of the floor, and at this point not much else can be expected of him.
And yet, Faried is so much more to this team than just a double-double each night. The energy he brings is contagious and can change the tone of any game into the Nuggets favor, much like Chris Andersen from 2008-09. He is an elite offensive rebounder, incredibly athletic and the Nuggets best player above the rim. Without Faried, the Nuggets would definitely be missing a guy who has all the intangibles needed for a team to succeed.
Faried is and will always be a fan favorite, but his worth to the Nuggets is one of the more polarizing questions surrounding the team this season. In the past year his name has come up in almost every Nuggets trade rumor and will likely continue to do so this season. At 26 he’s just entering his prime as a veteran on a very youthful team, but despite his experience his skill set might not be what coach Michael Malone is looking for at the power forward position. As it is, Faried is likely the most expendable player on the Nuggets and might not last the whole season in Denver given his trade value.
One of Faried’s greatest assets is his energy and hustle. He’s quick and somewhat chaotic, but his presence makes a huge difference in the flow of the game when his game is on. His energy also translates into a lot of success in the transition game, where he succeeds at finishing at the rim.
Faried is also an incredible rebounder, and is one of the best of the best on the offensive end of the floor. Last season he averaged 3.5 offensive rebounds per game, tied for second in the league with other rebounding machine DeAndre Jordan. His elite rebounding and athleticism also allows him to finish strong at the rim, where most of his touches come from, and gives the Nuggets plenty of second chance scoring opportunities.
Defense. Faried has always been a liability on defense and doesn’t instill a lot of hope that he can improve. It’s not just that he’s undersized, it’s that he doesn’t fare well in pretty much any situation whether it be guarding a big in the pick and roll or defending a post-up. Hope of his defense improving is slim, as even in the Nuggets first preseason game the other day he looked out of place at times which earned him an earful from Nikola Jokic.
Offensively Faried is flawed at anything outside of about six feet from the basket. His inability to shoot does Denver no favors in spreading the floor, and he’s not quite good enough at the post up game to run the offense through him. If he could even develop a 15-foot jump shot his game would be elevated to a whole new level.
Additionally, Faried really has to get those free throw numbers up. Last season he shot a paltry 61.3 percent from the charity stripe, the worst of his career. This doesn’t instill a lot of confidence for him to be on the court near the end of a tight game no matter how good of an offensive rebounder he is.
Courtesy of www.hashtagbasketball.com, here are Faried's projected stats for 2016-17:
In 2014 Faried signed a massive four-year, $50 million plus extension which at the time raised eyebrows around the league. Today, his contract is team friendly given the huge increase in the salary cap. Faried will average $12 to $13 million the final three years of his contract.