HOUSTON — Kenneth Faried gets minutes in the NBA because he works harder than everyone else on the court. He is pure energy and hustle. There is no half speed, it’s all-out every play.
Even in the BBVA Rising Star exhibition game on the Friday Night of All-Star weekend.
Which is why the Nuggets forward scored 40 points, grabbed 10 boards and is the MVP leading his his team — team Chuck — to an easy win, 163-135 in a defenseless game over Team Shaq.
Faried is an energy guy, not a scorer, yet there he was with crazy plays and dunks like the one above. You think he ever scored 40 before, even at Morehead State?
“I would say never in my life,” Faried said. “I never got over 30. Well, I never got to 30. I would always be stuck on 29, 28, can never get to 30. Missed too many free throws.”
He didn’t miss much of anything — he shot 18-for-22 including knocking down a three (try that in a regular game and George Karl would bench him before the ball got to the rim). Not bad for a guy not know for his offensive prowess.
Faried said he didn’t want the hardware he just wanted to win — and the guys do want to win, they get a bigger bonus for being on the winning side. But the check isn’t really what motivates Faried.
“He just plays one way,” said Team Chuck teammate Brandon Knight of the Pistons. “There’s no way for him to play basically what you call relaxed basketball. He just goes hard every time he gets on the court.”
There was plenty of scoring in this exhibition, even more than normal — Team Chuck had 90 points at the half. Those are college length 20 minute half, by the way. Team Chuck (as in Barkley, who bothered to show up halfway through) shot 17-of-32 from three and the teams combined to shoot 64 threes total.
It was all threes and dunks. Like a lot of exhibition games. Early on it was a lot of threes and the game wasn’t the most appealing exhibition ever, but guys started to attack and dunk, then Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight went back and forth a couple times and it started to get fun.
But nobody has as much fun as Kenneth Faried.