Kenneth Faried's Offseason to-Do List for Maximizing Potential Next Season
He goes full steam ahead and throws the hammer down on any defender that stands in his way. He out-leaps a 7-footer for a tough rebound to get the transition game rolling. His motor never ends and will get second-chance points every night.
Still, there are plenty of aspects The Manimal needs to work on. There are reasons why he's more likely to end up on SportCenter's top 10 or make highlight reels from the NBA Slam Dunk Contest than be recognized as one of the elite post players or be in the NBA All-Star Game.
A mid-range shot can take a lot of time to get comfortable with. It's also one of the easiest things to work on in the offseason.
The Nuggets don't have a big man that can make a shot consistently outside the paint, and if Faried can add this to his game, it will tremendously help his team, regardless of what offense it runs next year.
Anytime Kenneth currently catches the ball in the post, it's usually on the block, where he uses his strength, speed and touch to score. Since he's only 6'8", most of Faried's baskets over defenders result in quick jump-hooks from just a few feet away. If he gets a step on a defender, look out below.
Despite some success at times, it's easy for defenders to keep Faried in front of him in the half-court offense, because they know Kenneth has limited range and can play soft on him.
If Faried could catch the ball at the elbow, squared up from 15 feet and nailed the jumper, it would help stretch the defense.
This way when The Manimal brings a rim protector and potentially slower defender out to the free-throw line, Faried can use his athleticism to get past him and have an easier time finishing or drawing fouls. He can also assess this situation, as clearing the lane should make it easier for him to hit cutting guards from the wings and corners.
While Faried works on his mid-range game, he should also put in time at the free-throw line. Even though one is a jumper and the other is a set shot, the familiarity with the distance will help.
Free throws have always been a weakness of Faried's, dating back to his Morehead State days, as he never shot over 60 percent in college and is 63.3 percent in his first two years with Denver. They may not be Hack-a-Shaq numbers, but that's barely ahead of the 56.2 percent he's shooting from the field with the Nuggets.
It should be noted that The Manimal isn't wasting too many opportunities, since he's only shooting 3.4 free-throw attempts per game in his young career. However, that number should increase as he continues to work on his game and become a more potent threat.
A minimum of four free-throw attempts per game at 70 percent should be Faried's goal for next season.
Last summer Faried was part of the group that worked with Hakeem Olajuwon, and he mentioned how much it helped him defensively. Olajuwon is whom LeBron James went to in order to work on his post game also.
Faried should go back this summer, because there's still work to do offensively.
He doesn't have many basic post moves, doesn't utilize his left hand and doesn't have a fadeaway.
With a slight height disadvantage on most power forwards, Kenneth isn't going to be able to shoot over some of them consistently on turnaround shots. But if he can prove that he is capable of making it at times, those defenders will have to watch for it, and that's where The Manimal can use his other skills to show his balance.
As of right now, Faried has the explosiveness, can finish after contact and has decent touch off the glass. Working with space is the best way for him to be effective.
By improving on some fundamentals in the post, Faried's game will evolve and be tough to stop in both the full court and half court.
Looking Ahead to 2013-14
What does Kenneth Faried need to work on most in the offseason?
The Nuggets are still searching for their next general manager and head coach, so it's tough to say how Faried's game will need to adapt, if at all.
Working on these three skills will be a huge asset to Kenneth and Denver, no matter who steps in. He's already one of the most electrifying players in the NBA, and many teams need a guy with his kind of energy. This makes him more diverse.
There's great potential with The Manimal. This is the next step in taking his game to the next level.
(All NBA stats are from NBA.com)
(All NCAA stats are from ESPN.com)
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