Nobody knew how the minutes were going to divided for the Denver Nuggets or who would fill what role, but after Tuesday night’s preseason opener against the Phoenix Suns it is apparent that rookie big man Kenneth Faried should play some type of role for the Nuggets this season.
Faried didn’t step on the court until late in the third and the rookie from Morehead State didn’t disappoint. As advertised, he played above the rim and was a beast on the glass. He scored his first points after grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring a putback in which he was fouled on. The Nuggets next two possessions led to to back-to-back dunks by Faried. He finished the game with 14 points and six rebounds in 15 minutes.
Karl told the Denver Post after the game, “Something I’ll give him credit for — he had been slow in picking up some of the things (in practice) and our concepts and I think tonight the film will show you he was pretty close to perfect.”
Other highlights from the game:
- Ty Lawson hasn’t lost a step from last season, he scored 13 of his game-high 21 points in the opening quarter. He also added seven rebounds. What’s more impressive is he made 6-of-11 shots, two treys and went 7-9 at the charity stripe. Lawson may be the Nuggets best player right now.
- Al Harrington is back in Denver and is in much better shape. He gave the Nuggets a spark in the second quarter when he scored eight points in the quarter. He opened the second with an offensive rebound and nailed a trey.
- Danilo Gallinari got off to a slow start, missing his first three shots. But Gallinari caught fire in the second and went for 12 points. He did have three nifty assists in the opening quarter.
- Nene was living up to his $57 million contract in the opening quarter. He opened the game by hitting four jumpers and a breakaway dunk. But he did leave the game in the first quarter due to precautionary reasons.
- Andre Miller was back to his old self and was close to a triple-double. He had a game-best 11 assists, picked off four steals and finished with eight points and six rebounds. He also had some big outlet passes led to fast break dunks. He probably won’t start again, unless Arron Afflalo gets injured.
- Timofey Mozgov struggled with foul trouble (four fouls) and at the free throw line (1-for-5), but he set some good picks and came up with a big dunk in the third quarter. Mozgov did show he’ll go through some growing pains, but hopefully with more minutes and games he plays he will be more comfortable.
- Julyan Stone was impressive in scrub minutes, he hit both of his shots from the field (one from behind the arc) and had four rebounds and assists. He set up two Faried dunks in the fourth and a trey from Rudy Fernandez.
- Rookie Jordan Hamilton missed all three of his shots, but did grab three rebounds. He may see few minutes this season.
- Corey Brewer snagged seven rebounds, but he did have a nice fast break dunk in the third quarter. He also found Faried for a fast break dunk.