Denver Nuggets Power Forward Kenneth Faried has been one of the major bright spots for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup Tournament currently being played in Spain. Today the US Team took on an undermanned New Zealand team and Faried tallied 15 points and 11 rebounds in just over 20 minutes on the floor. Faried and his front court running mate, Anthony Davis have controlled the paint area in all 3 of Team USA’s wins thus far. They have 2 more pool play games tomorrow and Thursday before the single elimination portion of the tourney begins next week. The experience Faried is getting playing with the level of talent that exists on Team USA will be huge once he returns from Europe and gets ready for the new Nuggets season.
Probasketballtalk did a recap of the game against New Zealand and Faried’s play was highlighted:
On Sunday a veteran Turkey squad laid out a blueprint for how to slow the game down and beat the Americans, but New Zealand just doesn’t have the players to execute that plan. They are without Steven Adams of the Thunder, the one big man who might have been able to match some of the energy and athleticism of Team USA up front. The talent gap was stark in this one and New Zealand could not control the pace (and if you’re going to beat the USA you have to slow the game down).
Faried helps spark that pace for the Americans. Back during training camp Mike Krzyzewski described Faried as an “energy specialist” but once he got thrown into the starting lineup when Durant bolted. Faried has been exactly what the team needed — there are guys on that roster who can coast for stretches (I’m looking at you, James Harden). Faried is the antidote for that — his hustle and effort infects the starting lineup. He brings defense and energy.
If Faried keeps playing the way he has been thus far with Team USA, he will be noticed as one of the up and coming stars of the NBA and will deserve the Contract Exension that he and his handlers have been trying to get from the Nuggets this offseason.