Odds in Kenneth Faried's favor as he reports to USA Basketball camp

Denver Nuggets forward begins bid to make Team USA roster
by Aaron Lopez
Nuggets.com

Without a single practice, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried has risen up the depth chart for Team USA.

Faried reported to USA Basketball’s training camp on Monday as one of two power forwards among the 19 players competing for a spot on the 12-man roster for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.

His chances of playing for Team USA increased after All-Star power forwards Blake Griffin and Kevin Love withdrew from consideration in a three-day span last week.

Griffin wants to focus on preparing for the 2014-15 season with the Los Angeles Clippers, while Love’s future with the Minnesota Timberwolves is uncertain as the team explores trade possibilities.

That leaves Faried as one of only five big men at training camp. He is joined by power forward Paul Millsap, who was added Sunday, and centers DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond. All-Star Kevin Durant can also play power forward, but he’s more effective on the wing, particularly on defense.

Though the numbers are in Faried’s favor, don’t expect him to take anything for granted as he trains with USA Basketball. He thrives on outhustling, outrebounding, outrunning and outworking the opposition – traits that have helped him become a mainstay in Denver’s starting lineup the past three years.

Faried, who averaged 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Nuggets last season, impressed USA Basketball coaches and executives last summer when he took part in a mini-camp in Las Vegas.

When the roster for World Cup consideration was announced two weeks ago, Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski lauded Faried for his energy, rebounding and physicality.

After spending a week in Las Vegas, the USA Basketball participants will reconvene in Chicago and New York later in August before heading to Spain. The World Cup runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 14.