Originally written on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 4/23/12

I’m assuming there aren’t many NBA fans out there who haven’t become familiar with Kenneth Faried by now.  Since making his way into George Karl’s rotation in the latter part of February Faried has recorded 11 double-doubles, making him second only to Ricky Rubio (12) amongst rookies.  Consider the fact that he’s only played a total of 978 minutes and that’s pretty darn impressive.  To help put that number into perspective, Rubio had played 1,404 minutes prior to going down for the season, and Tristan Thompson, who sits at third on the rookie list with eight double-doubles, has played 1,346 minutes.

Faried is still an extremely raw player, but the all-out hustle and energy he exerts on a constant basis make him as effective as he is entertaining.  He’s only reported to have a 35-inch max vertical, but it seems much higher the way he throws down.  I suppose he’s got that thin Colorado air working in his favor, along with a seven-foot wingspan.

At 6’8″, Faried slipped to 22nd in the draft despite 17-point, 14-rebound averages in his final NCAA season at Morehead State.  His height certainly hasn’t held his professional career back any; he averages 10 points, 7.5 rebounds, and better than a block a game already.  It appears that the Nuggets have come away with a 22-year-old steal… one who will develop into a double-double guy even if his skill level remains something similar to what it is now.  The Manimal, as he has been nicknamed, simply hustles harder than, sh!t, maybe anyone I’ve ever seen.  He seems to get a hand on every single loose ball.  You’ll never see him get beaten up or down the court, but you’ll just about always see him flying above the rim.  From a fan’s perspective he’s a joy to watch–probably my favorite rookie, along with Kyrie Irving–but he tends to be a headache for opposing players and coaches.  Take the following play, for example.  He was ultimately called for a loose ball foul, but watch him run a few circles around Orlando’s Daniel Orton before ending up on Orton’s back, literally.

First of all, I don’t believe that Daniel Orton is 255 pounds (his listed weight) for a second.  That’s a large man… a human mechanical bull, as you can see.  Secondly, how could anyone not love the kind of passion and enthusiasm displayed by young Kenneth Faried?  I think I’m probably preaching to the choir–I mean, I don’t know of anyone who dislikes Faried–but I still feel the need to laud him on a more-than-regular basis.  He’s simply awesome.

Denver has two games left, so Faried still has a chance to become the rookie double-double leader.  He’ll need to sky higher than Serge Ibaka and fend off Nikola Pekovic to get the job done, but it’ll be interesting to see if he can do it.  I certainly wouldn’t put it past him; he’s recorded five in his last eight games.

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