DENVER, CO - MARCH 17: Kenneth Faried #35 of the Morehead State Eagles reacts after a play as Terrence Jennings #23 of the Louisville Cardinals looks on during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 17, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Singing the praises of Kenneth Faried's work ethic is nothing new. It's been lauded in papers, on the internet, on television, but like most feats of physical ability on a basketball court, seeing it up close is something entirely different altogether.
The Morehead State star was in Portland this morning working out for the Blazers and apparently that non-stop motor and maniacal effort level made an impression on head coach Nate McMillan.
Sure, it's only one comment, but sometimes all it takes is one person in the organization to fall in love with you. Portland is in need of some help in the frontcourt and Faried is expected to be selected right in the vicinity of the Blazers first-round pick at No. 21 (DraftExpress currently has him going 20th to Minnesota). Currently the ageing Marcus Camby is the only center guaranteed to be on the roster next season and after LaMarcus Aldridge, there isn't much certainty at the power forward position either. For a team that struggled on the defensive glass last season, Faried could be a nice addition to the lineup as a player who will hustle, defend and rebound without needing to have the ball in his hands on offense.
The power forward measured in at 6-foot-6 without shoes at the NBA Combine, perhaps a bit shorter than many expected (or hoped), but his effort may be unparalleled in this class. Furthermore, a fairly impressive 7-foot wingspan could result in Faried developing into the latest in a long line of effective, albeit, undersized frontcourt players ala DeJuan Blair or Chuck Hayes.
There has also been talk of Portland selecting USC center Nikola Vucevic as well - one of the fastest risers in this draft class - but if Faried should somehow slip, don't be shocked if the Blazers pull the trigger on him at 21.