According to Kenneth Faried, well before he became “The Manimal”, the Portland Trailblazers toyed with him prior to the 2011 NBA Draft. He was instead taken by the Denver Nuggets, and Faired has vowed vengeance on Portland ever since. Per the Oregonian: “Faried said the Blazers told him he was their pick. But when the Blazers came up at No. 21, they surprised many by drafting point guard Nolan Smith out of Duke. Faried went next, at No. 22, to Denver. How does Faried feel about the Blazers? ‘I ain’t going to lie to you: I don’t like them,’ Faried said. ‘I think it’s disrespectful what they did, got my hopes up for nothing. Every time we play them, it’s a little extra motivation for me to come out and show them what they missed.’ What the Blazers are missing is one of the best young power forwards in the NBA. This season, the 6-foot-8, 228 pound power forward is averaging 12.3 points and 10 rebounds while starting all 26 games for Denver. Last season, as a rookie, he averaged 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 58.6 percent from the field and starting 39 of the 46 games he played. […] ‘They said if I was there at 21, they would draft me. They said they were hoping I was there,’ Faried said. ‘But when the time came around … I mean, their front office and coaches decided to go the opposite way. I just took it as extra motivation. I remember saying, ‘If they don’t want to draft me, that’s their loss.’ The Blazers front office, and the 2011 draft, was spearheaded by interim general manager Chad Buchanan and president Larry Miller. In the two years leading up to the 2011 draft, Buchanan and the Blazers basketball operations staff heavily scouted Faried at Morehead State. They also did extensive research into his background and got to know Faried and his family well. After the draft, Buchanan explained the passing on Faried by saying the Blazers were looking to fill two needs that summer: a long-term solution at point guard and frontcourt depth. He said the team liked Faried, but decided the best plan of attack was to address their frontcourt needs in free agency while solving the point guard future by trading for Raymond Felton and drafting Smith. Later, the team signed free agents Kurt Thomas and Craig Smith to play power forward. Needless to say, it was a monumental lack of judgment. A colossal whiff. In Denver, word is the Nuggets practically fell out of their chairs when the Blazers’ selection of Smith was announced. The Nuggets immediately put in their selection of Faried, bypassing the allotted five minutes to make their selection.”
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