OKLAHOMA CITY —The proclamation was a perfect prelude. Prior to Kenneth Faried's fourth double-double in six games — 21 points and 11 rebounds against the Portland Trail blazers on Tuesday — Greg Anthony said on NBA-TV that the Nuggets power forward should be an all-star reserve.
"I think Faried has had an all-star caliber year," Anthony said on air. "When you play with the passion and fire that he plays with, it wills his teammates to compete just as hard."
Entering Wednesday, Faried had averages of 12.5 points and 10.2 rebounds, and he had a 19.33 player efficiency rating, which is 30th-best among players who average at least 29 minutes per game.
Denver is 24-17 and has only one more road game left in January.
The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman posts analysis, notes and more on this blog focussing on the Denver Nuggets.
Before Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Nuggets coach George Karl said, "We could have a very good record" at the all-star break, "but I haven't heard one name mentioned (for all-star consideration). Anywhere."
To be fair, Karl might not have caught what Anthony said.
"Kenneth has probably been the most consistent of our starters," Karl said, "but he's an energy guy, so he's not going to get much love."
Anthony and co-host Steve Smith, both former NBA players, revealed their all-star rosters that night (the real reserves will be announced Jan. 24; Denver surely won't have a starter).
Anthony's reserves for the Western Conference were: Stephen Curry, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant, Faried, Zach Randolph and Serge Ibaka. Smith had all the same except he started Kobe and had LaMarcus Aldridge on his bench with James Harden. Anthony started Harden.
Smith didn't have Faried on his team, but he praised him.
"(The Nuggets) wear you down because of their mental toughness. They come in waves and waves of big guys who can run. Kenneth Faried has been their all-star this season. He's kept them afloat with his hustle, his determination and the way he plays the game."
Though Denver entered Wednesday just two games out of the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference, it might not be represented in Houston this February.
"I've always said there are guys who get screwed," Karl said. "I think teams that win games should be rewarded, but with only 12 guys on the roster, there's no way that seven guys is enough. You should have a 15-man roster."
Chandler out. For precautionary reasons, the Nuggets rested Wilson Chandler, who recently returned from a hip injury and surgery. Chandler, who hit a huge 3 late in Tuesday's win against Portland, has played in two games since returning.
He said it."My most valuable player (of the Nuggets) right now? Andre Miller has been the rock, the solid foundation that has helped us win the most games." — Karl