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Malone puts the brakes on Balkan Buddy Ball

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After a 3-5 start, the Nuggets have decided to insert Kenneth Faried into the starting lineup in place of Nikola Jokic.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Nuggets announced that Kenneth Faried will start for Nikola Jokic tonight for the first time this season in the game against the Detroit Pistons.

Jokic started all eight games for the Nuggets at power forward this season as the coaching staff tried to find a way to play Jusuf Nurkic and Jokic together. The “Balkan Buddy Ball” frontcourt saw the starting unit struggle offensively and defensively, with a lot of turnovers and poor 3-point defense.

Faried has started 331 games in his career since being drafted in 2011. The six-year veteran is an instant source of energy, and his ability to vertically stretch the floor can be matched by only a few players in the league.