Faried not your typical FIBA big

VIDEO: Kenneth Faried has made a name for himself with Team USA

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Kenneth Faried does not fit the mold.

To play the four or the five for the U.S. National Team in FIBA competition, you typically need to be able to shoot or be really tall. Faried can’t shoot and is just 6-foot-8.

USA in New York this week
The U.S. National Team begins its third phase of World Cup preparation with an open practice on the campus of the U.S. Military Academy (coach Mike Krzyzewski’s alma mater) on Monday. It will also practice at the Brooklyn Nets’ practice facility in East Rutherford, NJ on Tuesday and Thursday, and play exhibition games against the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday and Friday. After that, the team moves on to the Canary Islands for two more practices and an exhibition against Slovenia.
Date Description Broadcast
Monday Open practice 2 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Tuesday Practice
Wednesday USA vs. DOM 7 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Thursday Practice
Friday USA vs. PUR 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Aug. 24-25 Practice
Aug. 26 USA vs. SLO 2 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Aug. 30-Sept. 14 FIBA World Cup Spain

Even in the NBA, where perimeter shooting is getting more important every year, Faried has his limitations as a power forward. In international play, where zone defenses are allowed and the 3-point line is shorter, a non-shooter can be thought of as a liability. Over the last several years, the U.S. has filled the power forward position with its big (and talented) three men, guys like Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

So when this year’s training camp opened in Las Vegas three weeks ago with 19 (and then 20) guys vying for 12 roster spots, Faried looked like a long shot to make the team.

But it didn’t take long for him to make the staff rethink what they looked for in a power forward and what kind of team they were building. In the first few days of practice, Faried made a compelling case for inclusion on the 12-man roster that would compete at the World Cup. And that was before Paul George broke his leg and Durant decided he wasn’t going to play.

No, he didn’t come to camp having grown a few inches or with an improved jumper. Faried’s energy and bounce was just impossible to ignore. He broke the mold for an international power forward by just doing what he does: running, jumping, grabbing lots of rebounds, and finishing around the rim.

That could have earned Faried a role as a “specialist,” someone who can make an impact in short bursts. But now, with George and Durant out of the picture, Faried is a candidate to start for the U.S. In fact, he started the first exhibition game against Brazil on Saturday.

It helps that the U.S. has Anthony Davis starting and playing the bulk of the minutes at center. Davis has range out to 20 feet and can take on the role of floor-spacing big on offense. With Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry and James Harden also in the starting lineup, the U.S. is in good shape on that end of the floor.

That fifth guy needs to do the dirty work and feed off the others. Faried did just that against Brazil, racking up 11 points, nine rebounds and two assists in a little over 23 minutes of action.

On the USA’s second possession of the game, Faried beat Nene to a rebound and drew a foul on the tip-in. On the next possession, he drove past Nene and fed Davis for an easy dunk. Before he was subbed out just four minutes into the game, he had picked up a couple of offensive boards (tipping in his own miss) and a deflection on defense.

Rudy Gay and Chandler Parsons are the other candidates to start at power forward for the U.S. Both got a few minutes with the other four starters on Saturday and one or both could start in New York this week. Faried got the start on Saturday because Brazil has such a big frontline.

But neither Gay nor Parsons is the rebounder or defender that Faried is. And neither made the impact that Faried made on Saturday. Not only did he record a near-double-double, but the U.S. outscored Brazil 65-38 in Faried’s 23-plus minutes. His plus-minus, both overall and on a per-possession basis, was the best on the team.

Defensively, Faried does fit what the U.S. is trying to do, which is force their opponent into turnovers and a fast pace with their speed and athleticism. Faried has the strength to hang with the bigger fours and fives inside, but also the quickness to challenge shots on the perimeter. On Saturday, Brazil scored just 38 points on 48 possessions (79 per 100) with him on the floor.

We shouldn’t try to take too much from just one game. Faried could be a minus-10 against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday. But early indications are that he’s a good fit on that starting unit and that he can make a positive impact in more than short bursts. In what would have been a huge surprise a few weeks ago, he’s a lock to make the final U.S. roster.

Kenneth Faried has broken the mold.

VIDEO: Team USA knocks off Brazil in Chicago


  1. shotgun says:

    Faried is overestimated because of his hair. Give him a haircut and he’ll stand out much less…

  2. harriethehawk says:

    I’m not a big fan of Kenneth Faried. But I do like his clean cut style and energy he brings all on his own..

  3. Edward says:

    It would be nice to be just 6-foot-8.

  4. Erikgarcia says:

    Faried definitely have a sure spot with the team USA. He brings energy to the team and a lot more. Go Manimal! Rarrr!

  5. John says:

    Um, zone is not explicitly prohibited in the NBA…the 3 sec violation generally discourages its continual use, but you still see moments of zone from time to time that are intended to slow down a hot offense. These are typically moments of desperation but still… : )

    Faried is a lock for sure, you need glue on a team like this.

  6. Rexbomb says:

    Anthony “Uni-brow” Davis is a beast!

    Go Team USA!!!

  7. T gas TT ako says:

    i’d love to see him even in olympics,, hes not human

  8. ko0kiE says:

    if faried is getting cut and plumlee makes the team, something’s utterly wrong.

  9. pat oslon says:

    Faried is truly the Manimal; he is a modern day Dennis Rodman without the drama. He has a great future ahead of him. …….. GO USA!!

    • TTKIN says:

      I’d say he has the potential to be very good, but idk if he’ll ever be Rodman. that is not criticizing Faried or your comment, it’s more about me thinking we will never see another rodman. Averaging like 17 or 18 rebounds a game while also being one of the greatest defenders ever.

      That being said, I think Faried can be “a poor man’s Rodman”, but I’d still say Faried has the potential to be a double double guy nightly. So not exactly poor haha. That’s like saying Kobe was a poor man’s MJ.

    • jack says:

      That is underrating Rodman quite a bit. In his third year Rodman grabbed 9.4 rpg verus Faried’s 8.6 and he did it in less minutes on the floor. Rodman is arguably the best rebounder ever, grabbing 15+ rpg in 8 seasons, 4 of which he even grabbed 17+.

      • Mr. Basketball says:

        Hello, please don’t make such blasphemous comments. Dennis Rodman was a great rebounder for his size – but certainly not the greatest rebounder ever. FYI – Dennis Rodman averaged 13.12 rebounds per game over his career. wilt chamberlain average 22.9 rebound per game. Dennis is 6’7″ so his acheivements are noteworthy – Charles Barkley at 6’4″ averaged 11.69 rpg – for Number 19 on the list. Here is the list of persons who averaged more rebounds per game.
        Wilt Chamberlain 22.89, Bill Russell 22.45, Bob Pettit 16.22, Jerry Lucas 15.61, Nate Thurmond 15.00, Wes Unseld 13.99, Walt Bellamy 13.65, Dave Cowens 13.63, Elgin Baylor 13.55. Wilt and Bill have had 50+ rebounds per game. Wil leads in reboundign total at 23, 924, Russell comes in second at 21620, Rodman – his total was 11, 954. Wilt and Rodman played 14 yrs in the nba. russell played 13. Wilt had twice as many rebounds as Rodman in the same amount of years. The numbers speak for themselves.

      • wingman says:

        To mr Basketball, while that’s true, Wilt played in an era with 120 points per game in average and under 40% field goal on average. There were a TON more available rebounds to catch, both sides of the floor.

        Rodman is the player with the greatest Rebound Rate (% of available rebounds) since we can measure that.

  10. Barnaby McBiscuits says:

    Faried is a monster. He’s not going anywhere.