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Why Kenneth Faried's Sophomore Season Will Shock the NBA

Hector DiazAnalyst IJune 27, 2016

Why Kenneth Faried's Sophomore Season Will Shock the NBA

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    The 2011 NBA rookie class was deemed one of the weakest classes in recent history. 

    It doesn't help that this class was drafted amidst labor negotiations, resulting in no offseason and a shortened 2011-2012 season. 

    But as disadvantaged as these rookies were at that time, a few still managed to shine on their respective teams. 

    And out of those few who put up impressive numbers in their rookie year, Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets is poised for a breakout sophomore campaign. 

Al Harrington's Departure

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    Al Harrington played the role of mentor to Kenneth Faried last season, but Harrington is no longer on the Nuggets roster. 

    He was shipped to Orlando during the offseason as a virtual throw-in to complete the blockbuster Dwight Howard trade. 

    While Faried may be disappointed in the departure of his mentor, he can take solace in the fact that the trade allows him more playing time. 

    Anthony Randolph is Faried’s only real competition at power forward now that Harrington is in Orlando.  

    And while Randolph has shown glimpses of excellence throughout his career, Faried is a more consistent forward. Expect Randolph to come off the bench while Faried starts. 

    Faried now has the minutes to improve on last season’s 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. The increase in minutes will surely give him the chance to put up double-doubles on a regular basis. 

Andre Iguodala's Arrival

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    By giving up Al Harrington in the trade that sent Dwight Howard to Los Angeles, Denver acquired the Philadelphia 76ers' Andre Iguodala.

    Kenneth Faried should be ecstatic about this, and not only because of the increased playing time he is poised to see this season. 

    Both pieces of the trade are versatile players, meaning they can play two or more positions. 

    Harrington was able to switch from small forward to power forward which took playing time from Faried. 

    Iguodala is versatile as well, but he can switch from the small forward to shooting guard position which doesn't interfere with his playing time. Instead, it helps his game on the court, as Iguodala is arguably a better player than the aging Al Harrington. 

    The focus of defenders on Iguodala can surely create more scoring opportunities for Faried. 

The Versatility of the Nuggets Roster

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    The versatility of the Nuggets is not limited to Andre Iguodala; the entire roster is full of young players that can play different positions. 

    Namely, Danilo Gallinari can play both forward positions, but according to the Nuggets depth chart on ESPN.com, he will play small forward for the foreseeable future.

    The versatility at the forward positions can take the pressure off the power forward from Morehead State and can allow him to thrive as a sophomore. 

The Nuggets Depth

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    The Nuggets have one of the deepest young teams in the NBA. The combination of their tweener forwards and their depth make Faried’s job easier to produce big numbers.  

    The team is deep at center. With JaVale McGee, Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov, the team is in a position that other teams dream about. 

    Gallinari is listed as the team’s small forward. Wilson Chandler, who averaged 9.4 points, 2.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game in last year’s shortened season, is his backup.

    In case of any injury to a power forward, Gallinari can easily step up to fill the role.

    The tweener advantage will definitely come in handy considering that the team is relatively thin at power forward.

    Not to mention, the team has Andre Iguodala, who played small forward in Philadelphia, listed as shooting guard. 

The Hakeem Olajuwon Pilgrimage

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    If the increase in playing time isn’t enough to boost Kenneth Faried’s impressive rookie season numbers well into his sophomore season, then maybe Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon can make it happen. 

    The Denver Post reports that Nuggets center JaVale McGee has already begun training with the Hall of Fame center, and Faried is looking to work with him later this month. 

    Olajuwon has helped stars develop their post-game skills in the past. Notably, LeBron James and Amar’e Stoudemire met with Olajuwon last season for pointers.

    If Olajuwon can develop Faried’s skills even more, then the sophomore power forward is poised for a stellar season. 

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