As Brian Lewis notes in his Thursday profile of Kenneth Faried, he’s more buried here this year than he was last year in Denver.
Faried averaged career-lows of 5.9 points in 14.4 minutes over just 32 games last season for Denver. But since his arrival with the Nets, coach Kenny Atkinson has given him just 18 minutes in four cameo appearances, during which he has scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and snatched eight rebounds, three offensive.
The Newark native who’s making $13.7 million this season, the last year of his current deal, says while he’d like to play more, he’s all about the team.
“No. I really don’t care,” Faried told Lewis. “I just want us to win. Help the team focus on that, nothing going on in particular except basketball. That’s what we need to focus on, that’s what we need to go out there and do, handle our business.”
Kenny Atkinson admits his preseason ankle surgery hurt his development, leaving him out of the front court jumble. It’s not because of any issues on or off the court.
“But I can’t say ‘Oh, he’s played bad,’ or ‘Oh, he’s not playing well.’ I can’t say that. Some guys, I can. … I’m telling you the honest truth, it’s a situational thing. And the other guys have got to start playing badly for him to get a chance. He’s been great, he understood that and been a man about it.”
Atkinson said similar things about Jahlil Okafor last season, and there were issues that kept him on the bench. So we shall see where, if anywhere, Faried fits. Treveon Graham told Lewis a few days ago he’s making great progress. A very good shooter who can play the 4, Graham was an Atkinson favorite before he went down with a hamstring injury. DeMarre Carroll may make his season debut Friday further complicating things.
Faried has been seen shooting threes under the tutelage of a Nets coach. He’s 2-of-20 for his career. Of course, Faried has already proven valuable to the Nets. Denver gave up a first rounder (1-12 protected) in this year’s draft and a lightly-protected second in the 2020 draft.