Houston Rockets big man Kenneth Faried has been forced to bounce around before finding his way back into a rotation, initially a key cog of the Denver Nuggets starting core, but later replaced with a new wave of players.
The agile forward was initially known as “The Manimal,” as he would ensnare rebounds over taller, heavier opponents and dunk with a ferocity seldom seen from a man of his size.
“When I was a rookie, everybody said, ‘Know your niche, and expand on it later,’” Faried explained, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “So I learned my niche, got on the floor for George Karl, did what I had to do and played the four, with a five who wasn’t dominant but who did things and was there defensively. I was still able to score on those teams, and I was looked at as an All-Star at one point, and an Olympian. I don’t know how in the world everything just fell off the hinges, but Houston took a big chance with me and they’re getting a big reward.”
Faried went from making 64 starts in 67 games in 2015-16 to making only 41 in his next 93 games through the next two seasons in Denver. The 6-foot-8 power forward would only see 12 appearances off the bench with the Brooklyn Nets this season, all before landing with the Rockets later in the season, showcasing his true potential.
The big man still hasn’t forgotten how his future with the Nuggets had crumbled before his eyes.
“When I went to Denver [for 2017 Media Day] and had my first interview, everybody was talking about, ‘Oh, Paul [Millsap]’s here, this that and the third,” Faried said. “[But] I’m still the starter. I think that way, I feel that way. We gonna see at practice, and that’s how I felt. Politics, NBA, things happen. Whatever. I still was putting up numbers when I did play and I guess they kind of didn’t want me anymore.”
The acquisition of Millsap was the last straw that ultimately bumped him out of the team, as Faried would later be traded to the Nets for virtual cap space.
Since joining the Rockets as a free agent, Faried has averaged 16 points and 9.9 rebounds in 14 appearances, the best all-around line of his career.