Fun stat of the day: Kenneth Faried is the all-time NCAA Division I rebound leader. Surprising, isn’t it? Faried was a rebounding machine at Morehead State University; averaging 13-plus rebounds a game in each of his final three seasons. Heading into the 2011 NBA Draft, many teams questioned Faried’s prospects as a NBA player. The major knock on him was the fact that he played against “inferior” competition in the Ohio Valley Conference. Nevertheless, the Denver Nuggets took a chance on Faried and selected him in the first round. They struck gold. Faried has been a beast in his first two NBA seasons, nearly averaging a double-double this past winter.
The 23-year-old is entering a pivotal year. His career might even be at a crossroads. In year one, Faried showed All-Star potential. In year two, well, he suffered the “sophomore slump.” Take a look at his numbers:
He took a huge step back in 2012-13. His PER dropped more than three points, his true shooting percentage went down and his block rate took a dip as well. So you can probably see why I think 2013-14 will be an important year for the big man. If his numbers continue to regress, Faried will just be another big man in the NBA. Don’t get me wrong, averaging 10 and 10 a night is nothing to laugh about. However, if Faried and Nuggets management view him as a potential All-Star year in and year out, the New Jersey native must improve in year three. Let’s take a look at potential reasons for this sophomore slump. Here is Faried’s basic stat line over the last two years:
The main thing I noticed was his increase in minutes. Was he not able to handle a bigger workload? Does he need to work on his fitness? It is clear that he wasn’t as efficient in year two. If Faried’s efficiency drops that much with an increase in six minutes per contest, how much would it drop when he is playing 35 minutes a game? Additionally, his offensive game didn’t improve. If he wants to be a force in the West, Faried has to put up at least 15 a night. If the Nuggets want him to be an All-Star and lead them deep into the postseason, they need him to play an efficient 35 minutes night in and night out. The Nuggets need a star player if they want to take that next step, and Danilo Gallinari‘s ACL injury might prevent him from turning into that player. Can Faried be that guy? Year three will provide a lot of answers. So, let’s find out!