Skip to content

A small part of why the Nuggets traded Nene: Kenneth Faried

Mar 18, 2012, 9:00 AM EST

kenneth-faried Getty Images

So many trades are made for singular reasons. A team will need to change its identity. A relationship between a player and a coach will become toxic. A player will be leaving in free agency. But there are often times trades that “make sense, ” as the popular phraseology goes, because they’re good for multiple reasons. It’s not just one thing, it’s a lot of things. The Denver Nuggets’ trade of Nene is a good example.

The Nuggets changed their long-term direction by trading Nene, giving up a quality veteran who can contribute to a championship team in favor of losing his long-term contract. The Nuggets signed him to a five-year, $67 million deal in December. They felt they needed his leadership, needed a viable center, needed to spend heavy to make sure they could contend for the playoffs. But two things became apparent as the year wore on.

One, the injuries Nene has sustained over the last several years have taken their toll on Nene. His ability to attack off the second jump, to get to loose balls, to function at full-speed consistently has been compromised. Nene is not at all a subpar player, were it not for his contract, this move wouldn’t have been made. There’s been discussion that this was always the plan, but that would seem to be a pretty far-fetched approach for a GM to intentionally give a player a contract he’s not worthy of. Nene’s contract was the biggest reason he’s now in Washington, and that has nothing to do with his effort, professionalism, or production, all of which are very good by NBA center standards.

But the other reason is Kenneth Faried. Faried was drafted by the Nuggets as a late first-round steal, but he was, of course, a rookie. Rookies that aren’t superstars have a hard time getting floor time with veteran coaches like George Karl. Karl even said before the season he didn’t expect Faried to get much floor time. Instead, the man they call Manimal is averaging 16 points and 13 rebounds per 36 minutes with a 22.4 PER. He finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds in the Nuggets win over the Celtics Saturday night, but it was a play that has zero box score impact that stood out to me and provides an excellent example of why the Nuggets were in a position to clear out their starting center.

Freeze that baby at the 20 second mark. That guy is 6-8, and that’s how high he gets.

Look, that’s a non-play by most standards. He didn’t block the shot. He didn’t recover floor to floor. No SportsCenter highlight reel for him. He just closed out on a shooter in a game in which the Nuggets already had a two-score lead with 35 seconds left. It didn’t win the game. But that kid in a game where he had nabbed 16 boards closed out on a great mid-range shooter in Brandon Bass with that kind of intensity.

In a few years, Faried may not close out like that. Hey may have to recognize like so many players do that you have to conserve energy for the grind. He may not be able to physically pursue. Let’s be clear here, this isn’t an indictment of Nene. It’s not “Nene would never do something like this.” Nene is a professional and a quality defender, who does his work in closing out on guys and has a world of physicality he brings to the table. It only serves to illustrate what the Nuggets already have down low before they even add JaVale McGee. And that’s straight up, mind you. He didn’t expose himself to be out of position. It was just enough to deter Bass. It should be noted Bass had an off-night, shooting 2-9 from the field. But it’s not hard to see a relationship between Faried’s detonation to contest and the miss.

Faried didn’t make that kind of explosion to snare a triple-double with a rebound, or on a breakaway dunk. That play won’t be remembered by anyone. But it should be noted that when the Nuggets evaluated what started the year as a big question mark for them down low and found that they could move forward in part because of the emergence of Kenneth Faried.

Latest Posts
  1. Russell Westbrook confirms he will play Wednesday night vs. Sixers

    Mar 4, 2015, 1:28 PM EST

    He should put up numbers against the Sixers. Then again he puts up numbers on everyone.

  2. NBA admits missed foul call in final minutes of Timberwolves’ loss to Clippers

    Mar 4, 2015, 11:20 AM EST

    Andrew Wiggins, Spencer Hawes Andrew Wiggins, Spencer Hawes

    League is releasing officiating reports for all calls made in a close game’s final two minutes, and the results are fascinating.

  3. LeBron goes behind the back to avoid Avery Bradley on the break (VIDEO)

    Mar 4, 2015, 10:40 AM EST

    Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Nifty but necessary move by LeBron to earn the easy two points.

  4. Derek Fisher questions ‘character and integrity’ of players after Knicks lose to Kings by 38 points

    Mar 4, 2015, 9:20 AM EST

    Derek Fisher AP

    Knicks starting five combined for just 24 points, and New York trailed by as many as 44 before this one was finished.

  5. Utah’s Rudy Gobert grabs a career-high 24 rebounds in win over Grizzlies (VIDEO)

    Mar 4, 2015, 8:40 AM EST

    Utah Jazz v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

    Jazz are 5-1 in their last six games since Gobert was inserted into the starting lineup.

  6. LeBron James moves into 21st on NBA’s all-time scoring list (VIDEO)

    Mar 4, 2015, 8:00 AM EST

    Miami Heat practice Getty Images

    James passed Ray Allen to achieve his latest milestone.

  7. Josh Smith calls Hawks fans “bandwagoners”

    Mar 4, 2015, 1:55 AM EST

    Houston Rockets v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

    Hawks fans booed Smith every time he touched the ball.

  8. Josh Smith rattles in 3-pointer, taunts booing Hawks fans (video)

    Mar 3, 2015, 11:33 PM EST

    Josh Smith, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague Josh Smith, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague

    Smith can’t stop shooting 3s, though, and you know how that ends

  9. Report: Celtics’ top free-agent target is Kevin Love, Greg Monroe No. 2

    Mar 3, 2015, 8:08 PM EST

    Kevin Love, Greg Monroe AP

    Boston reportedly also plans to try for Marc Gasol, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler

  10. Report: Mavericks, Heat in long line of teams interested in JaVale McGee

    Mar 3, 2015, 5:50 PM EST

    JaVale McGee JaVale McGee

    The list for him is much longer than just two teams. Much longer.

Featured video

Is Derrick Rose the next Penny Hardaway?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. R. Westbrook (7913)
  2. K. Durant (7461)
  3. D. Rose (6851)
  4. D. Cousins (6728)
  5. A. Davis (6484)
  1. D. Howard (6416)
  2. L. James (6247)
  3. J. Harden (6115)
  4. K. Irving (5992)
  5. P. George (5854)