2017-18 Nuggets Player Breakdown: Kenneth Faried
To Kenneth Faried, the answer to what he would be as a player on the court has always been simple and succinct.
“You’re going to see Manimal,” the seven-year veteran forward said. “Every time I step on the court.”
And what is that?
“I wear my heart on my sleeve,” Faried said. “And every night you see me going out there and playing with my heart on my sleeve. I make those emotional plays – the diving, jumping, whatever. People look at me like, ‘that’s the Manimal.’
To that end, Faried put all of that emotion in his appearances on the court. Per 36 minutes, Faried led the Nuggets – the players who appeared in over 25 games – in average charges drawn, was third in screen assists, fifth in contested 2-point shots, and was fifth in contested shots of all kinds.
Faried played in 32 games (14.4 minutes per game), with averages of 5.9 points and 4.8 rebounds. Extrapolated over 36 minutes, those averages would be 14.7 points and 12.0 rebounds. So, from a production standpoint, Faried packed a lot into his time on the court.
His heaviest stint of playing time came in the immediate aftermath of Paul Millsap’s wrist injury in November. In eight games from Nov. 24-Dec. 10 Faried started in six of them, played an average of 27.1 minutes, and averaged 11.9 points and 9.5 rebounds in those contests. The Nuggets were 3-0 when he scored at least 14 points in those games, and were 2-1 when he had a double-double.
And his biggest impact offensively came in transition and as the roll man in pick-and-roll action. In transition, Faried scored 1.25 points per possession and shot 69.6 percent from the field. In rolls to the basket, Faried scored 1.304 points per possession, and shot 61.9 percent. With his athleticism, he was a constant lob threat in screen-roll action, and he finished a ton of them.
Defensively, Faried was an improved defender in space. Opponents averaged just 29 percent shooting against him in isolation plays. Faried will continue to improve in pick-and-roll actions, as well as defending post-ups.
And when he wasn’t playing, Faried supported his teammates.
“It’s just a matter of me being on the court or whatever happens – me being an assistant, helping coach the people that’s on the court,” he said. “Whatever I need to do, I know how to get there to help my team.”
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter.