Kenneth Faried’s hallmark is caring, sometimes too much.
Playing harder than almost anyone in the NBA has brought him his share of injuries and earlier this month he sat three straight games with a back injury, in January 2016 he was stretchered from the court in a neck brace.
His heart has never been in question.
So it’s bizarre to hear the 25-year-old rebound machine say he doesn’t care if Denver trade him.
His name – among a host of others has been on the trade block as Denver 15-23 seek to regain some NBA relevance for the first time since the 2012-13 season – the last time they made the Playoffs.
“I really don’t care, if I get traded, then hey that’s life,” Faried said pre-game in London.
“I’ve just got to play my game and whatever team I play on, that’s what I am going to do.”
Words are one thing though. Actions are another.
And in London, Denver and Faried made an emphatic statement.
On a five-match losing streak coming into the game against an Indiana Pacers team riding a five-game win streak of their own, Faried, coming off a dose of the flu and the bench was influential for the Nuggets with 15 points and nine rebounds in just 16 minutes.
For Faried a trio of thunderous dunks were the hallmark, along with his aggression in the paint, the performance belied his statement on trade rumours surrounding him as the Nuggets blew out the Pacers 140-112.
Coach Mike Malone, who has been openly critical of Denver’s defence of late was also pleased with Faried and seemed like he wanted to do anything but trade the big man.
“Kenneth brings something a lot of bigs don’t bring to the table,” Malone said.
“His athleticism, his energy and his motor and you look at some of the plays he made around the basket, a lot of those bigs can’t make those plays.”
The win took the Nuggets to just three games behind Portland (18-23) in the race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference and if they continue to play like they did in London then their two biggest stars are adamant they can turn the season around.
“We just need to play hard all the time, that’s our biggest flaw,” Faried said.
“We have got to play harder and get stops and when you get stops you play out the game have fun and enjoy it.”
Denver did just that in London, they even kept Paul George to 10 points on 2 of 12 shooting and Danilo Gallinari is certain he doesn’t want to see change in the Mile-High city.
“I’m very happy where I am right now,” Gallinari, who had 18 points on seven of 11 shooting said.
“I am very happy with the teammates I have – hopefully nothing will change. It’s out of our control but hopefully we will be able to keep the same team.”
Gallinari is remaining positive that Denver can make a return to the post-season this year.
“We just need to get back to the Playoffs, when I went to the playoffs three years in a won with Denver it was amazing – we need to get back to that level and it might happen this year.”
Featured Image: Hoops Habit