Houston Rockets: Kenneth Faried is thriving as a starting center

By Tevin Williams
Kenneth Faried #35 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Kenneth Faried #35 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

A switch to center and an excellent offensive system has revived Kenneth Faried’s career as he continues to thrive for the Houston Rockets.

In the 2011-12 season, a young Kenneth Faried was a very promising player for the Denver Nuggets. At 6-foot-8, he was a power forward that was full of energy and athleticism, which can get you some minutes in the NBA even without a polished skill set.

However, as Mike D’Antoni‘s pace-and-space offenses succeeded in the NBA year after year, other coaches slowly started to copy what was working best. Soon, power forwards that weren’t particularly skilled and lacked a shooting touch quickly went out of style, and Faried soon found himself on the outside of the rotation looking in.

After Clint Capela suffered a thumb injury on Jan. 13 against the Magic, forcing him to sit out for four to six weeks, the Rockets desperately needed to sign another center to fill in for him. In comes Kenneth Faried.

Despite being undersized, Faried fits in perfectly in Houston’s system. Like Capela, he is full of energy, is athletic and exceeds as a rim-runner. All he has to do is set screens for James Harden and Chris Paul, finish on lobs and drop off passes, rebound and defend. Most of those things don’t require a high skill set outside of hustle and a decent athletic ability, and Faried possesses those qualities.

In his four-game career with the Rockets, Faried is averaging 14.3 points and 9.5 rebounds on 60.5 percent shooting from the field. Faried has never been known for his defense, but he is averaging 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game with Houston, both of which would be career highs.

Faried has suddenly become relevant in the NBA again after just four games and he has earned himself a spot on Houston’s roster for the rest of the season. His athleticism and durability gives him a huge leg up on Nene and so far he has been much more consistent than Gary Clark.

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When Clint Capela returns, the Rockets will be a deeper team after the addition of Faried. Faried should become a valuable part of the second unit in the months ahead as the Rockets prepare to make a strong push for playoff seeding.