Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Posted: 11 a.m.
By Dei Lynam
Alas, the NBA Finals have arrived. While Dallas and Miami duke it out to win a championship, the Sixers will spend the next three weeks trying to figure out if they can add a piece to their puzzle in the upcoming draft that puts them one step closer to title aspirations.
The Sixers currently have the 16th pick in the draft. Soon they will be bringing in potential draftees to their practice facility, though much of their homework has been done through scouting, video and the pre-draft camp recently held in Chicago.
Its in Chicago that Kenneth Faried was able to showcase his athleticism and personality that could catapult him from a late first-rounder to as high as No. 16.
Faried just completed his fourth year at Morehead State. He finished his career as the NCAAs all-time leading rebounder with 1,643 boards and an average of 12.3 per game. He surpassed the mark set by Tim Duncan, who left Wake Forest in 1997 after pulling down 1,570 rebounds in his four years with the Demon Deacons.
That elite status would not have been possible had Faried not revoked his decision a year ago to be in the NBA draft.
It was a great decision for me, Faried said. I think just breaking Tim Duncans record and being able to go to the NCAA tournament and upset Louisville, it was a great team and a great fit. Everything happens for a reason, so I guess it was for a great reason I went back.
That Faried is a fierce rebounder with a nose for the ball is undisputed. That he has tremendous energy and aggressiveness in his approach to the game is also a known fact. But he is 6-foot-8 and weighs 225 pounds both numbers that make him an undersized power forward at the NBA level.
Furthermore, while Faried led the Ohio Valley Conference in field goal percentage (64), scoring (17.6), rebounding (14.5) and blocks (2.4) this past season, people question if his numbers just reflect being a big fish in a small pond.
A lot of people say my offensive skills can be of concern, the Newark, NJ native said. But I am working at it and they accept me for that and they say be able to play a great role.
Part of the reason Faried shot such a high percentage in college is that he went after the ball. His mantra is in order to shoot the ball you have to rebound it.
Most players arent going to make every shot, Faried said. I would just go get it and score it and figure my numbers would speak that way.
Faried doesnt focus on the where he is drafted, but he absolutely thinks about the when.
Personally, I dont see myself any particular place right now, he said. I just see myself being a great player and going out there and giving my all, and hopefully falling somewhere in the first round. But if I dont I am still going to play hard and try and make a team.
He can rebound, but the rest of his game obviously has questions marks. Still, imagine picking midway through the first round and landing a specialist. That people would use Farieds name is in the same sentence with Dennis Rodman certainly pique ones interest. Rodman, who is a Hall of Famer, was selected with the third pick in the second round of the 1986 NBA draft at just 6-foot-7. Rodman led the league in rebounding seven consecutive years with 18.7 per game being the pinnacle in the 1991-92 season.
Elton Brand is the Sixers current starting power forward and he led them in rebounding with 8.7 per game this past season. Thaddeus Young would appear to be Brands successor when his contract is up two years from now. Young is part power forward, part small forward and while his rebounding improved (a career high 5.3 per game last season), it will never be his strength. Young makes people pay with his quickness at the offensive end of the floor.
Selecting Faried as of this day and watching the mock drafts would be taking someone higher than the player is projected. Lest we remember where there is risk certainly there is the chance of disappointment, but there is also the chance of reward which can be oh so great with the right risk.
E-mail Dei Lynam at firstname.lastname@example.org