Kenyon Martin has brought two things to the Denver Nuggets over the previous seven seasons and that has been defense and leadership.
Now that it is not likely that Martin will not return, the Nuggets will need to find a replacement that brings that same intensity on the defensive side of the ball and Kenneth Faried would be all that and much more if drafted by the Nuggets.
Faried has the potential to be a modern day Dennis Rodman, providing his team with rebounding and defense and a non-stop motor. Physically, Faried (6-foot-8, 225 pounds) is smaller than Martin (6-9, 240) but bigger than Rodman (6-7, 210). However, Faried’s wingspan (7-feet) and athletic ability (35.0 maximum vertically) makes him a nightmare to opposing teams offenses. Even in his workouts for NBA scouts he has been one of the more vocal and intense players in the scrimmages. And that and his motor will make him a valuable player at the next level.
Faried showed in college that he can impact a game on the defensive side of the ball, he averaged 1.9 steals and 2.3 blocked shots to go along with 14.5 rebounds his senior year. And much like Martin, he can be an intimidator in the paint and also is versatile enough to help guards on the perimeter. In fact, Faried may be a better shot-blocker than Martin. Statistically, Faried was the best rebounder to ever play in college basketball. And rebounding was one of the Nuggets biggest weaknesses since they traded away Marcus Camby three seasons ago.
There are some questions about Faried’s immediate impact in the NBA, since he is making the leap from a small school like Morehead State to the NBA. However, he has proven that he can play amongst the elite teams in college basketball after leading his Eagles past Louisville and going head to head against Justin Harper’s Richmond Spiders. And he has a better chance of helping a team next season than some of the younger players in the draft like Bismack Biyombo, Jonas Valanciunas or even some of the guards like Reggie Jackson or Darius Morris.
Now the question is, if the Nuggets draft Faried do they need to keep Martin to tutor the future star? Faried will go through growing pains, but if he has a veteran big man to sit learn from it will be valuable for the NBA hopeful.