Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Manimal Cometh

Kenneth Faried is a man. While I have been a big proponent of trading the Manimal before he’s due a hefty chunk of change, my tune is certainly changing. In the month of March, Faried is averaging almost 21 points and just over 10 rebounds a game. He has gone on hot streaks before, but I think this is a permanent shift in Faried’s game.

His game hasn’t changed much from his rookie season — hustle plays, ferocious dunks, athletic rebounds and energy for days — but Faried has improved the area he needed to the most. After the trade deadline, perhaps being put at ease he was staying a Denver Nugget, the Manimal has asserted himself on the court. Overnight, it seems, Kenneth Faried has found his ability to take charge.

No longer is he passive and hoping only for an easy dunk, he wants the ball now to attack the rack. The baby hook is consistently falling and he’s getting more looks close to the rim. This new confidence the Manimal is showing is also working itself to the charity stripe. Because of the assertiveness, Faried is averaging 7 trips to the free throw line and is knocking it down 69 percent of the time, an eight percent improvement on the rest of the season. And the best part of all this Manimal swagger is that it shows no signs of stopping.

The Nuggets need to make some moves this summer. Big moves, in my opinion, but for the first time, I’m suggesting Kenneth Faried not be a part of that. After this season, he’s got one more year left on his rookie contract. That’s when most guys are given an extension or given the boot in the way of a trade. I don’t wait for another season and let Faried test free agency, and I wouldn’t look to trade him, I lock him up this summer to a well-deserved deal. He’s a fan favorite, a crowd pleaser and now, it would appear, a standout power forward. The Manimal has finally bared his teeth on the court. And not in a smile this time.

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