Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Justin Becker of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. You can follow him on twitter at @NBAFantasyInfo, and you can follow the Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ Page. For more NBA news visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues, a fantasy basketball blog.
Kenneth Faried has been an improving player ever since he came into the league after the 2011 NBA Draft. He was picked with the 22nd overall pick in the first round by the Denver Nuggets and has spent the past three seasons with the Nuggets. He has been improving each year, becoming more and more productive each year.
He had a rough start to the season, but down the stretch he proved that he could be a big-time player in this league. In order to evaluate how he will play next season, first we are going to take a look at his last two seasons and how he played. Then we will take a look at how I project him to do next season. Finally, we will end with some keys that will help him perform better for next season.
First off, here is how he did two seasons ago.
The 2012-2013 season was more of a breakout season for Kenneth Faried. It was the season where he finally started to get some recognition and started to get noticed. At the season’s end, he was averaging 11.5 points per game, which was an increase of 1.3 points from his rookie year. He averaged a career-high 9.2 rebounds per game as well, adding 1.0 assists per game, 1.0 blocks per game and 1.0 steals per game. He was a stat-sheet stuffer and did anything he could for the Denver Nuggets.
Taking a look at his game log, let’s take a look at some of his best moments. Although he only had six games of scoring 20 points or more, with his high coming against Minnesota on December 12th with 26 points, he did score in double digits in 54 games, so he showed consistency for that matter. This was his best rebounding season in his career, where he almost averaged a double-double. He rebounded the ball 10 or more times in 40 games that season. He hit the 20-rebound-mark once and also hit the 19-rebound-mark three times. His highest assist total was four assists, which he hit in three games. He had a good, healthy season starting in all 80 games that he played. He averaged 28.1 minutes per game.
This last season was another decent-productive season. He stayed at or around the same average markers as the season previous. Again, he had a rough start to the season, but picked it up down the stretch as you’ll see soon. He picked up his scoring a little, averaging 13.7 points per game throughout the season. It was an increase of 2.2 points from the previous season. He also rebounded 8.6 rebounds per game, which is only a decrease of 0.6 rebounds from the previous season. In addition, he averaged 1.2 assists per game, 0.9 blocks per game, 0.9 steals per game and shot 55 percent from the floor.
Taking a look at his game log, let’s see how he did compared to the season prior. First, let’s look at 20-point games, which he only had six of last season. This season, he recorded 17 games of scoring 20 or more, including a 34 point game on April 2nd against the New Orleans Pelicans and a 32 point game on March 7th against the Lakers. 12 of those 17 games came in March and April, the final two seasons of the season. He also had 29 games where he rebounded ten or more rebounds. His highest mark was 21 rebounds, which he grabbed on April 12th against the Utah Jazz.
As I said before, Kenneth Faried had a strong final two months of play. In the first four months of play, Kenneth Faried didn’t average over 13.8 points per game in one month. He also did average over 9.4 rebounds per game in a month, which he did in November. Now, let’s see how he did the final two months. In March, he averaged 19.2 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game. He was simply spectacular during this month. He continued that play into April, where he played in eight games. He averaged 21.0 points per game and 13.0 rebounds per game. Those were arguably his best stretch of games throughout all season.
2014-2015 Season Projections
I’m not going to lie, I think Kenneth Faried will have a huge, consistent season next year with the Denver Nuggets. I think he will increase his numbers pretty much across the board. After averaging 13.7 points per game this season, I think that will increase to at least 15.0 points per game. For right now, I’m going to say he will finish with 16.8 points per game, with a couple of 30-point games and a lot of 20-point games. On the rebounding end, I think he will be heavily looked at for help. I think he will average no less than nine rebounds per game. For now, I have hopes of him to get the double-double and average around 10.5 rebounds per game. He will still bring a block and a steal every game and will stick around the one or two assists per game.
Keys That Will Help
As we watched Kenneth Faried have an amazing end to the season, as outlined above, we need to look at something that made a difference in his play: his minutes per game. In the first five months of the season, he averaged 15.0, 26.6, 19.9, 27.2 and 27.9 minutes per game in October, November, December, January and February respectively. Now, in March he averaged 31.4 minutes per game. He had his best month of the season in March. And then in April, where he was just on fire for those eight games, he averaged 32.0 minutes per game. Notice as soon as he saw more minutes, he started to play a lot better. I think if the Denver Nuggets want to get full productivity out of Kenneth Faried, they need to use him a lot more next season, and I think they will do that.
One more key, which as obvious as it is, is he needs to stay healthy. He has been fortunate to have only missed four games in the past two seasons, but injury is something that could hurt him. Denver has been hit with a lot of major injuries the past couple of years. I’m positive that Denver doesn’t really feel like waiting for anyone to heal right now and wouldn’t flinch to make a trade before that happens. I’m not saying Faried is at risk, but if he wants to stay on this team and receive valuable minutes, then he will need to keep proving how durable he is.