NBA All-Star Weekend: Kenneth Faried rises high among young stars, moves on to dunk contest

Scott Halleran

The Denver Nuggets young big man made his presence felt in the Rising Stars Challenge and now looks to turn more heads in the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday.

Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried simply couldn't be denied all night while earning MVP honors in the Rising Stars Challenge in Houston. Faried scored 40 points in 22 minutes to lead Team Chuck over Team Shaq, 163-135, in the opening tip-off of All-Star weekend on Friday night.

While the box score for the 40-minute game exposes the all-star style of play employed (see: option to play defense rarely exercised), Faried emerging as the MVP was a bit surprising considering this type of game normally highlights flashy guard play.

There were plenty of highlights from the young guards with Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight dueling, and Isaiah Thomas lighting it up from behind the arc. But Faried was a force at the rim as he powered his way to 40 points with dunk after dunk after dunk. Oh, and he did drain one three-pointer just to flash a little versatility. The evening created a shot chart George Karl could only dream of seeing in a regular season game.

Kfariedsc_medium

It is hard to tell which is more amusing - the sight of that shot chart or the fact that the shot chart exists in the first place. Regardless, it does cut to the chase with Faried's successful showcase in the Rising Stars Challenge.

Now the dynamic Denver forward will try to surprise NBA observers once again with his effort in the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night. As a power dunker, most expect Faried to fall by the wayside as high-flyers James White and Gerald Green add their flair in the air.

For Faried, that just sets up a scenario similar to his MVP chances in the Rising Stars Challenge. Energy and effort are always surefire ways to overcome minimized expectations. No doubt Faried will represent himself and the Nuggets well in the spotlight on Saturday night.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.