A role player and hardly a household name Kenneth Faried took advantage of his opportunity to play for team USA. Let’s be honest if Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge participated in training camp, Faried would not have made this team.
Faried could have made the team before Paul George got injured or Kevin Durant left the team. He would of came off the bench and provided some energy and hustle. But with both of those players gone Kenneth Faried was the starter next to Anthony Davis. I thought DeMarcus Cousins would start at the five and Anthony Davis would be the power forward.
From the start Faried was amazing. His energy and hustle was off the charts. Forget the numbers and just watch him play. There were many plays where he didn’t get the rebound but he fought through defenders and forced the opposing player to lose the ball out of bounds, earning team USA another possession.
There were few plays ran for him to score and he still averaged 12.4 points per game to go alone with his 7.8 rebounds per game. He had a tournament high 35 offensive rebounds. He also added another 35 defensive rebounds to finish second with 70 rebounds in the World Cup.
He had a stretch where he was leading team USA in scoring and rebounding. It was all effort on his part. He would run the floor after turnovers and get rewarded for an easy dunk. If a shot went up he was attacking the basket for a put-back layup or dunk. He had good numbers in the last few games but he was not the focal point because James Harden, Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving got it going.
He may not make the next Olympic team if LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love decide to participate but I would not be surprised if he had a shot. You can’t teach effort and hustle. Faried played his way onto the All-Tournament team as well. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t expected to make the team.
Hopefully this tournament allows him to take his game to the next level for the Denver Nuggets this season. If he can add a mid-range jumper or some post moves maybe he can play his way onto an All-Star game.