Aug 20, 2014; New York, NY, USA; The United States bench reacts during the second half of a game against the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets: Kenneth Faried Keeps His Team USA Starting Spot

Two international exhibition games for Team USA meant two quality starts for Denver Nuggets’ power forward Kenneth Faried, and now we can worry about him becoming the official starter instead of worrying he’ll get cut on Saturday.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski had solid options when deciding on his starting power forward for Team USA’s game against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday. DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond, and Mason Plumlee all would have been a solid starter in the exhibition game against the inferior Dominican for Coach K, but the legendary coach choose Faried over all of them.

It wasn’t the flashest statistical game for Faried, he only posted four points, five rebounds, and had a blocked shot in 10.5 minutes of play. The minutes were spread around all forwards in the 105-62 rout.

However, the start is yet another sign that Faried is posed to have ample chances to prove himself as a star in Spain for the world championships.

Both Cousins (15) and Drummond (16) ended up finishing with more minutes than Faried in Wednesday’s game, but the numbers overall were comparable. Cousins finished with two points and eight rebounds, and Drummond finished with 12 points and five rebounds one game after he didn’t play at all.

Aug 1, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; USA Team Blue forward Mason Plumlee (35) reacts to his wrist being held by USA Team White center DeMarcus Cousins (36) during the USA Basketball Showcase at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Faried is now the only one of the trio that has played every game in this summer’s circuit, and considering the starting lineups have been consistent, it appears that Coach K is prepping the forward as a consistent starter throughout the FIBA World Cup. On Wednesday Faried was joined in the starting lineup with Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving (after a late Derrick Rose scratch), and James Harden.

Not bad company for the Nuggets forward, and the other four are definitely projected starters for the national team when the games start counting. It looks like the starting spot next to Anthony Davis is now Faried’s to lose at this point, and given that he’s grabbed more offensive rebounds than anyone else in the first two games his chances are good to keep it.

This is big for the Nuggets for two reasons. First, it’s good to see Faried continue his stellar play from the second half of last season into the World Cup.

We’ve seen the forward blossom since last January, and this increases the chance we’ll see more of that stellar play next season.

Second, it’s always good to see a Nuggets player fight for a starting spot, instead of a roster spot, when it comes to the men’s national team.

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Tags: Denver Nuggets Kenneth Faried USA Basketball

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