The sixth man. Not as glamorous of a title as starter but often just as valuable.
There are some players in the league who have made the sixth man position their own. Jamal Crawford is one who stands out. Crawford has added prestige to the role after winning the sixth man of the year award 3 times. His offensive skill set adds a scoring punch every time he enters the game and he is one of the most dangerous shooters in the league. The fact that he plays this role being as deadly a shooter as he is sets an example for Kenneth Faried to follow.
Faried isn't the offensive shot creator that Crawford is but he is still an offensive force. The Nuggets average 3.9 more points per 100 possessions with him on the court than they did with him off. His defense, however, is another story. Faried's poor defense has been a sticking point for all of the people who don't value Faried's game. It's hard to make a case otherwise since he has had an average of 106.9 DRTG in his 5 seasons in the league per nba.com/stats, a mark ranks him well below average. His defense has always been an issue despite the fact that he has been known to have some huge highlight blocks.
Coming off the bench, Faried's defensive can be masked as he can take on more of an all-energy and hustle role. That's what he is renowned for, highlight reel dunks in transition and hustling back to swat the ball into the stands. Faried can come on when the Nuggets are lacking energy - which happened a lot last season - and get things moving. A big dunk that gets fans off their feet is his specialty.
As a sixth man, Faried can focus on being a spark plug. Insert him into this team and the hard-running, high flying Nuggets of seasons past that dominated the high altitude of Pepsi Center may return. The sixth man can bring the energy and the excitement which, coincidentally, is what made Faried a fan favorite in the first place.
Consider the rest of the Nuggets bench with guys like Will Barton, Joffrey Lauvergne, Darrell Arthur, and Jakkar Sampson. All high energy guys who out-hustle and out-work their opponents. Slot Faried into this unit and you have a line-up of guys who are prepared to work as hard as possible and play as fast as possible. This unit could make an absolute mess of any tall timber team that isn't prepared to work and run as hard as these guys. Imagine playing a team that rolls into Denver at 3am on the second night of a back-to-back and plays the opening 6 minutes against the scoring punch of Emmanuel Mudiay, Danilo Gallo and Nikola Jokic. When these guys get switched out they think the rain has stopped, only to be swept off their feet by the run-and-gun of Faried, Barton and Lauvergne.
Sadly, as exciting as Faried would be in this role, it is highly unlikely that he embraces coming off the bench. Faried is the second highest paid so tt would take a lot of convincing to get Faried to even try this role. Couple that with the fact that he would be replaced in the starting line-up by a guy 5 years his junior, it doesn't look all that likely. Faried does, however, have experience coming off the bench as he did it when he played for team USA. If he was prepared to do it then to contend for a title, he should do it again because these Nuggets have a very bright future ahead of them.
Faried has been a good starter for the Nuggets. But he can be GREAT as the Nuggets sixth man.