Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried has been a face of this franchise for several years. Here’s everything you need to know about “The Manimal” for the upcoming season.
Kenneth Faried, known as “The Manimal”, entered the league with a splash. Drafted with the 22nd overall pick in the 2011 draft, Faried quickly made a name for himself with his great motor and physical play. It didn’t take long for him to be become a fan favorite on the Denver Nuggets.
Faried was the first “post Melo” draft pick for Denver. He’s been locked in as Denver’s power forward for the last six seasons and hasn’t really had to fight for his minutes since taking over as the starting power forward. But in 2017, Kenneth will be asked to take on a new role.
With the Nuggets acquiring Paul Millsap this offseason, Faried will be coming off the bench—something he has done only 44 times in his six-year career, 27 of which came last year.
Faried could be a starter on a lot of NBA teams, but the Nuggets just have too much depth at the position. The Denver post reported that Faried has expressed his frustration with this reality:
“I’ll just put it out there for everybody. I’m not a bench player. I’ve been saying that for the longest. I’m a starter.”
It is also speculated that the Nuggets are looking to ship the 27-year-old. As for his staying or going however, that’s for another article.
Less playing time may actually help the fan favorite. He will just have to embrace the new role. That’s the biggest question surrounding Faried as he enters this season. Let’s break down the Manimal’s strengths and weaknesses.
Since coming into the league, the Morehead State product has been known for his motor. A motor that helped him break Tim Duncan’s collegiate record for career rebounds. The Manimal’s grit and hustle has been on full display ever since he arrived in Denver.
Faried is undersized for the power forward position in the NBA. But at six-foot-eight, he’s still an impressive rebounder. Throughout his career, Faried has averaged 8.5 boards per game. He’s able to make up for his height with his exceptional athleticism and superb effort level.
When it comes to pursuing the basketball, Faried is one of the best. It can seem impossible at times for teams to stop him.
His relentless energy and pursuit of the basketball has allowed Faried to average three or more offensive rebounds per game every year of his career. During that span, only Joakim Noah and Tristan Thompson have done the same.
Playing less minutes could actually benefit a guy with a great motor. With less time on the court, Faried can exude maximum effort at all times. If the Manimal is able to embrace his new role off the bench, he can become a phenomenal sixth man for the Nuggets this year.
Athleticism/Finishing at the Rim
Kenneth Faried has never been much of a shooter, but he knows how to finish at the rim. Just like with his rebounding, Faried’s unbelievable motor and athleticism help him immensely on the offensive end.
Most of the Manimal’s points come in the form of dunks and layups. Faried is smart and knows his game. He knows that he can’t make even a fifteen footer consistently, so he looks for points near the basket.
Below is a heat map of where Faried takes most of his shots:
Last season, only 10 forwards took at least 5 field goal attempts per game within five feet of the basket, while also shooting over 60 percent on such attempts. Faried was one of them. Only six players on the list were more efficient from that range than the Manimal.
Kenneth’s athleticism and jumping ability allows him to soar past defenders for easy finishes. Combine that with his smart shot selection, and the six-year veteran has shot over 50 percent from the field each year he has been in the league.
With the great passing ability of teammate Nikola Jokic, Faried’s ability to score at the rim is even more valuable. Jokic and other teammates know where to find Faried, and if they see him lurking around the rim…
look out below:
With his exceptional athleticism, Faried scores around the basket with ease. Denver can rely on the Manimal to be a great presence near the basket year in and year out.
When the Manimal was drafted out of Morehead State, there was hope that his outside shooting could improve. Unfortunately, it hasn’t.
In an era where shooting is more important than ever, Faried sticks out like a sore thumb. As more and more frontcourt players have developed outside shots, the Manimal has failed to do the same. Last season, Faried shot 21 percent outside the paint, and it looks as if he’s even given up entirely on developing a jumper.
In 61 games last season, he took only 29 shots outside the paint. That was by far his lowest total since his rookie season, when he took 33 such shots.
With Faried on the court, the lane can clog up for cutting teammates. Defenders do not have to respect Faried once he steps outside the paint. Opposing big men can simply plant themselves in the lane. This is likely the number one factor in Faried’s newfound struggle for playing time.
Faried is a certified starter in the NBA. His athleticism and motor make him a great rebounder and a solid scorer around the rim. However, the outside shooting has never been there, and it may never come.
Faried will be stuck behind Paul Millsap all season, but he can still make a huge contribution for the Nuggets off the bench. He just has to embrace his new role.
If the Nuggets decide to part ways with Faried, his energy and athleticism will be missed. He has been an integral part of the team ever since his arrival in 2011. However, if he stays with Denver throughout this season, Kenneth Faried could be a sleeper sixth man of the year candidate.