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How Would Kenneth Faried Look in the Trail Blazers Lineup?

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Portland’s starting five isn’t complete. Could a strong-rebounding power forward push them into contention?

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers didn’t make any huge trades over the summer, but that’s not stopping Blazer’s Edge readers from suggesting players to fill out the corners of the Blazers roster. Today’s example comes from @Timmybosso, who covets Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried and wonders what he’d look like in a Blazers uniform.

Faried not playing is what happens when Paul Millsap comes on board, I suppose. It’s hardly a surprise. He was falling out of favor with the Nuggets even before they got another All-Star at his position.

Things to like about Faried:

  • He’s in his prime (28 this year).
  • He’s an efficient scorer (between 16-18 points per 36 minutes, .574 career true shooting percentage).
  • His rebounding is phenomenal (around 12 total rebounds per 36, 4.4 of those offensive rebounds).
  • By current standards his $13-13.8 million per year contract is cheap and the Blazers could easily match salaries to facilitate a trade.
  • Portland would only be on the hook through the summer of 2019. He’s not going to bust the ledger forever.

By all these standards, yeah...getting him for low cost would be exciting. The intimidation factor on the glass would be worth the price of admission alone.

There are cautions too. He’s not a defender...at times he’s downright awful. I don’t need to explain why that’s a bad idea in Portland. His high scoring efficiency happens almost exclusively within four feet of the bucket. Get him outside of arm’s length from the rim and he’s a bad bet...the anti-stretch forward. Jusuf Nurkic is fine on the perimeter but the Blazers don’t want to trap him there exclusively. They like their fours to strike from mid- and long-range. The same shots that make Caleb Swanigan look good and Al-Farouq Aminu look dicey, Faried would need to pass on entirely. That’d hobble Portland’s offense.

As we’ve said before, rebounding is the most replaceable trait on the floor for any forward. Portland’s incumbents might not dominate the way Faried does but they already snag enough boards to blunt the Faried edge. Ed Davis garners as many offensive rebounds per minute as Faried; Noah Vonleh isn’t that far off.

Faried would be an exciting “name” get, but he’s not the ideal. This trade would go under the category of, “If you got nothing else to do, go for it.” It’s not the key to championship, but if the Blazers could clear out the forward (and lane) mess enough to get Faried minutes it could be a step on the road to respectability. His two-year term would expire just in time for Swanigan and Zach Collins to step into third-year maturity. If he provided minutes and a bar for the young forwards to clear on their way to playing time, that wouldn’t be the worst use of $13 million. If the Blazers moved a contract extending one year further than Faried’s in the process—subtly presumed in any current trade scenario—so much the better. It’d be a 1980’s-style deal, where Portland collected talent even though it didn’t fit perfectly, rode the wave of playoffs appearances, then tried to parlay that talent into a more cohesive whole later on.

Timothy submitted his Mailbag question via Twitter, which is super-legit. Tweet yours to @davedeckard or email it to blazersub@gmail.com if you wish!

—Dave / @davedeckard / @blazersedge / blazersub@gmail.com

Don’t forget to come together with other Blazer’s Edge Readers on opening night at Spirit of ‘77. Details through the link.