Kenneth Faried, Kurt Thomas

Kenneth Faried works harder at his job than you do at yours


David Thorpe — Executive Director of the Pro Training Center and ESPN analyst — has a saying:

Energy is a skill.

You need to have an elite level skill — rebounding, shooting, defending — to really impact an NBA game. But hustle, being a true energy guy, can do that, too. A guy who just comes in and out works you for everything can change a game.

Meet Kenneth Faried.

The Nuggets rookie has doing just that the past few weeks for the Nuggets — putting up 20 points (on 7 of 9 shooting) and 12 rebounds against the Kings Monday night, his fourth double-double in seven games. He comes in and just works harder than anyone else on the floor. He can rebound and will challenge you for the ball you think you own, he loves to run to the rim either in transition or off a pick, and he is doing it with more energy than anyone else.

It’s what makes him captivating to watch. It’s what the Nuggets hoped they were getting from Moorhead State. He’s fast becoming a fan favorite.

There is a great breakdown of what he is doing right over at NBA Playbook.

With Faried, his limitless supply of vigor and mentality to attack every ball coming off the rim like it owes him money, fuel his rebounding prowess. The Denver rookie also excels at gathering in out-of-area rebounds, something that separates the elite from the merely good in that category. Against the Kings last night, six of his 12 rebounds (as well as eight of his 20 points) came in the last three minutes of regulation and overtime. About a handful of those dozen rebounds were of the esteemed out-of-area variety.

That is energy as a skill.

Go read the whole thing. Then go watch Faried play. It’s hard not to root for this guy. You just wish every guy in the NBA would play like this.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott
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Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.

Is Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Lionel Messi
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Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.

Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?

“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.

“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”

I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.

But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.

Jahlil Okafor fights man in Boston (video)

Jahlil Okafor

The 76ers lost a heartbreaker to the Celtics last night, dropping Philadelphia to 0-16.

Jahlil Okafor was apparently in a foul mood after the game.


We’re told everyone got up and fled the scene and no arrests were made.

We’re told the altercation began because one of the men in the other group yelled at Jahlil, “The 76ers suck.”

We spoke with a rep for Jahlil who tells us … Okafor says he was being heckled from the moment he left the club and felt threatened because people swarmed him on the street.


This video obviously doesn’t show everything, but it certainly makes Okafor look like the aggressor.

Okafor will probably face punishment from some combination of the legal system, NBA and 76ers.