Denver Nuggets player reviews: Kenneth Faried

The Manimal made the most of his opportunity as a rookie in 2011-12
by Aaron Lopez

With the 2011-12 season in the books, is taking a closer at the team’s primary rotation players and how they fared during a challenging 66-game schedule. Denver assistant coach Chad Iske was kind enough to provide candid assessments, which reflect the views of the Nuggets coaching staff as a whole.

Today’s featured player is forward Kenneth Faried, who foreshadowed things to come when he scored his first career points on an over-the-shoulder alley-oop pass from Rudy Fernandez on Jan. 4.

Selected by the Nuggets with the 22nd pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, Faried played sparingly for the first six weeks of the season before injuries in Denver’s frontcourt provided an opportunity.

Crashing the boards and running the floor, Faried averaged 10.2 points and a team-leading 7.7 rebounds in 46 games. He posted 12 double-doubles and led all rookies in rebounding and field-goal percentage (.586).

In recognition of his work, the Manimal finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting and landed a spot on the 2011-12 NBA All-Rookie First Team. He will try to carry that momentum into next season as Denver’s starting power forward.

“The coaches have faith in me,” he said. “They want me to be that dynamic player on our team – maybe a star someday. For now, a rising star.”

After a strong regular-season performance, Faried earned additional trust and respect from the coaching staff during Denver’s seven-game playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers. He stepped into the spotlight and averaged 10.4 points and 10.0 rebounds. Faried’s impressive play, relentless hustle and genuine love for the game made him a fan favorite at Pepsi Center.

If his rookie season was any indication, that popularity is only starting to grow.

Chad Iske’s 2011-12 Evaluation
“Everybody saw his tenacity. When the lights come on and the ball goes up in the air, he has that desire to go get it. Mainly it’s seen on the glass, but that desire and competitive will to win was seen in other areas. He finds a way to make a big play in crucial moments. That’s something that everybody saw from the beginning in scrimmages and in practice. When he got the opportunity, it started to come through in games.”

Summer Improvements
“We know he’s going to have to expand his offensive repertoire a little bit. People are going to be making him a major part of the scouting report. He needs to get better at the free-throw line and with his jump shot. We want to keep utilizing his speed to attack the defense by improving his ball-handling. He’s already a rebounding presence. We want him to be a presence in offensive sets as well.”

Two Words That Best Describe Faried
"Relentless intensity.”

Game to Remember
The Manimal was perfect from the field (5-5) and the free throw line (8-8) on March 17, and he was a beast in the playoffs, but he enjoyed a historic performance against Golden State on April 9.

Faried posted career-highs of 27 points and 17 rebounds in just 24:07 to become the first player in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55) to reach those numbers while playing less than 25 minutes.

Stat That Bears Re-Tweeting
11-1 – Denver’s record in the 12 games that the Faried recorded a double-double. The only loss came on a last-second tip-in at Memphis on Feb. 17; the Nuggets won their final 11 games when Faried had at least 10 points and 10 rebounds.