Brian Shaw leaning toward starting Hickson over Faried opening night

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If you wondered why reports had surfaced that Denver was shopping around Kenneth Faried, here’s a hint as to why.

Nuggets’ coach Brian Shaw is leaning toward starting J.J. Hickson over Kenneth Faried in the Nuggets opener Wednesday at Sacramento (via the Nuggets twitter account).

Part of that is that Faried is coming off a hamstring injury and they don’t want to rush him, but part of it is Shaw and the Nuggets are high on Hickson. Even when Faried is right Hickson may keep that starting job.

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Faried is a fan favorite because he is an Energizer Bunny on the court that is both athletic and never seems to quit, but he’s also raw offensively. Faried shot 61.6 percent in the restricted area but just 28.2 percent on the handful (less than one a game) midrange shots he took. Hickson is more polished, he’s an athletic and can finish at the rim (64 percent in the restricted area) but also has a good midrange game (47.3 percent last season). Neither are impressive defenders, but Faried is better on that end of the court because of his effort level.

Whatever Shaw is seeing in how Hickson flows with Ty Lawson, he likes what he sees. That makes Faried expendable (especially with him able to be extended next summer and a restricted free agent in two).

Just something to watch going forward.