Kenneth Faried Proving He's Good for More Than Just Highlights

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06:  Kenneth Faried #35 of the Denver Nuggets goes up for a dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  The Nuggets won 112-105.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

There are plenty of mid-rotation players that have bolstered their standing among fans (and lined their pockets in the process) thanks to a barrage of highlight finishes.

Kenneth Faried isn't one of those guys.

Even if we still haven't picked up our jaws from the first time we witnessed him take flight.

The former Morehead State star broke Tim Duncan's modern-era Division I career rebounding mark before leaving the collegiate hardwood, but scouts had more questions than answers about how well the undersized (6'8") forward would transition to the professional level.

The Denver Nuggets, though, had seen enough to make him the 22nd overall selection in the 2011 draft. And they've been counting their blessings ever since.

Faried's NBA exploits have been hard to define. 

His rebounding prowess has continued on the professional stage (12.2 rebounds per 36 minutes for his career), but he's more than a Reggie Evans-esque rebounding specialist.

He brings a contagious energy to the Nuggets, finding transition buckets and racking up chase-down blocks in the process.

His offensive production has been largely limited to points in the paint, but that hasn't affected his scoring numbers (12 per game in 2012-13). He does his work early in possessions, battling for post position and making the most out of the touches that come his way (55.9 career field-goal percentage).

He hasn't reached the level of go-to scorer by any means, but he may be closer to that title than you'd think:


Kenneth Faried (19 pts, 19 reb) is 1st Nugget with 19+ pts and 19+ rebs since Carmelo Anthony in Nov. 2010 at Suns.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 10, 2013


His achievements are no surprise. With his approach to the sport and his determination to outwork his opponent on a nightly basis, he's a lethal combination of intensity, athleticism and skill.

The nightly highlights are simply a bonus for hoops fans, bringing with them some sense of reward for anyone who's ever had their abilities questioned.

Heck, even his rebounds are fun to watch.

The way he attacks the glass evokes images of the league's all-time greatest glass eaters.

He may never have the gaudy scoring numbers to garner his just due from the casual observer, but his two-way effectiveness isn't lost among the sport's analysts.

The Nuggets are searching for stardom, and have been ever since Carmelo Anthony's unsightly departure during the 2010-11 season. Despite assembling a strong contingency of talent, scouts still question their ability to withstand the gauntlet that is the Western Conference playoff run sans superstar.

But there may already be one blossoming on the game's biggest stage.

He's more than a rebounder, more than a hustler, more even than an already ridiculous and still growing highlight reel.

He's simply the Manimal.