Houston Rockets forward Kenneth Faried has carved out a niche with his new team and is now displaying parts of his game that were once buried on the practice floor, forced to be the rebounder and enforcer he was when he was nicknamed The Manimal during his tenure with the Denver Nuggets.
Now, Faried puts up the occasional 3-pointer, getting the green light from head coach Mike D'Antoni despite coming in a discouraging 3-of-25 from long distance before putting on a Rockets jersey.
Since, he's hit a sound 5-of-11 in his new uniform.
“I put in time in the gym,” Faried explained simply, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “So it’s interesting to see now everybody saying, ‘Oh, where did this come from?’ No, I always had it. I could always shoot. I could always score the ball. I could always rebound — like that was my main trait. I could always defend. People just stopped believing in me.”
“People always said I couldn’t shoot the three, and it wasn’t that. I just never took them,” Faried continued. “Now that I’m taking them, people go, ‘Whoa, your shot is nice actually. Wow. You have a soft shot.’ I always had this, I just never did it. It was a respect thing — I knew how to get on the floor for my coaches.”
While Houston has better options to take these long-range shots, having a big man that can hit them gives them a certain unpredictability that can help them down the road once shooters like James Harden, Eric Gordon, and Austin Rivers are played more aggressively, giving Kenneth Faried the opening for those uncontested looks.