The Manimal continues to cause nightmares for opponents

Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried has sleepless night after 19-point, 19-rebound performance
by Aaron Lopez

With his indefatigable style, Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried can cause opposing coaches and players to lose sleep trying to figure out how to contain him.

After a monster game against the Orlando Magic, Faried joined the club.

Still wired following a 19-point, 19-rebound performance, Faried was wide awake when he returned home from Pepsi Center.

“I was shocked at the whole thing of getting 19 and 19,” he said after practice Thursday. “My energy was still high. I had to do something to keep myself occupied.”

Faried spent a few hours playing the video game Call of Duty and finally called it a night at around 4 a.m. As it turns out, his insomnia is common after most games.

“On game days it’s hard for me to go to sleep because I bring a different level of energy for me and my teammates,” he said. “I want to win so much, I play at that extra high level.”

Nearly midway through his second NBA season, Faried – aka, the Manimal – is playing a high level more often than not.

He is one of 12 players averaging double-figures in both points and rebounds, and his 16 double-doubles ranks tied for 10th in the league. If the NBA had a statistic that measured hustle, he undoubtedly would be among the leaders, as well.

“The plays that he makes are pretty incredible from a standpoint of work and intensity,” Nuggets coach George Karl. “They motivate everybody. They pick everybody up. The fans like it, coaches like it, players like it. Everybody likes it.”

Faried had the Pepsi Center crowd on its feet when he grabbed three offensive rebounds and then called a timeout while sprawled on the floor. The game was tied at 99 at the time, and Faried’s effort led to Ty Lawson’s go-ahead three-point play with 1:27 remaining.

“There’s no question that he’s one of the top 5 or top 10 energy guys in basketball,” Karl said. “His impact is that he has a way of finding us points. His skill set it not to score, but he’s getting a good knack of how to find his shots.”

Faried joined Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard as the only players this season to have at least 19 points and 19 rebounds while shooting 70 percent from the field. He also was the 13th player in Nuggets history to post 19 and 19 and the second-youngest behind Danny Fortson.

In describing Faried before the game, Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn nearly foreshadowed how things would unfold a few hours later.

“Relentless at both ends of the floor,” Vaughn said. “Running to the rim, offensive rebounding. Whether it’s a free–throw box out, (he) just (has a) tenacity to go after the basketball. You have to appreciate that, for sure.”

Faried’s contributions likely will earn him an invitation to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, which features the top first- and second-year players during NBA All-Star Weekend.

If he continues to compile double-doubles and the Nuggets (21-16) rise in the standings over the next few weeks, Faried could be a darkhorse to land spot as a reserve on the Western Conference All-Star team. The reserves are selected by coaches within each conference.

“I hope so,” Faried said. “I really can’t determine people’s mindset. Just by playing my game, hopefully it pans out that way. If it doesn’t, as long as my team’s winning, I really don’t care.”

In other words, it’s not something he’s going to lose sleep over.