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.