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WHAT WE EXPECT: Special ‘Manimal’ Edition

Kenneth Faried is the biggest name acquired by the Nets via trade this off-season ... well, the biggest who will actually suit up. Our Bryan Fonseca takes a look at what we can expect from “The Manimal.”

Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It’s time for yet another Brooklyn Net reclamation project ... and this one will be among their most intriguing to date. Broken just after midnight on Friday, after most fans had gone to bed, it was a bigger deal than expect, but at the center was the Manimal.

Kenneth Faried, who was the 22nd overall pick in 2011, entered the league as an exuberant, undersized, stat-sheet stuffing, mid-major monster from Morehead State, where he earned a Consensus Second-Team All-American spot, Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year honors twice and NCAA Rebounding Titles in both 2011 and career.

Faried was expected to be a near double-double machine, which he was for six seasons. He was also the last man standing from the raucous 57-win Nuggets of 2012-13, their last playoff appearance.

Things started to change two years ago. It had little to do with him, rather it was the game.

Amidst league evolution that put a premium on something he can’t do, which is shoot from deep, there were resultant trade rumors.

Between 2011 and 2017, the soon-to-be 29-year-old averaged 11.9 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 54.5% from the field. Last season, with multi-talented Nikola Juric manning the post and highly paid players younger players like Trey Lyles getting a chance, Faried fell out of the rotation, averaging under 22 minutes per game in 32 games, a mere seven of them starts. He posted 5.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in 14.4 minutes nightly.

Still, per 36, his production didn’t waver much, falling from 16.3 points and 12.8 rebounds in 2016-17 to 14.7 and 11.9 last season, putting his career per 36 at a consistent 16.5 and 11.9.

Even in a season where highlights came few and far between, you can get a nice sample feel for what Faried can provide. Take a look...

The plays? They look like reverse highlights of what the Nets missed the last two seasons on rebounding and defense.

10. Alley-oop.

9. Transition dunk.

8. Alley-oop + transition dunk.

7. One-handed block at the rim. (7-foot wingspan, 30+ inch vertical leap.)

6. Transition dunk. (Never stops running the floor as fastbreak momentum slows.)

5. Right place, right time one-handed dunk in the flow of the game.

4. One-handed poster in transition. (Again, runs the floor really well.)

3. Transition block, pinned off the backboard.

2. Alley-oop posterization on Omri Casspi. (Better than it sounds, if only it were Draymond.)

1. One-handed alley-oop dunk off a beautiful feed from Nikola Jokic. (Never. Stops. Running. The. Floor.)

And that was in a down season.

The 2012 All-Rookie First Team player has also had his scary performances in the league, such as his 26-point, 25-rebound outing against the Minnesota Timberwovles a few seasons ago.

As recently as two seasons ago, his last as a starter, Faried had 11 double-doubles, highlighted by two terrific outings against the Phoenix Suns during that 2016-17 campaign: 21 points and 14 rebounds on January 28, 2017; 20 points and 15 rebounds on November 16, 2016.

That season, he also memorably grabbed four rebounds in 10 seconds, and man, that would’ve been more welcomed in Brooklyn than the eradication of gentrification.

Oh, and while on the topic of eradication, there’s also this:

Someone wipe the droll off of Kenny Atkinson’s mouth.

May we remind you just how terrible the Nets were on the interior last season, again?

Despite limitations in minutes last year, Faried had three double-doubles, one off the bench, a 20/10 outing in Orlando on December 8 against the Magic.

He’ll likely come off the bench in his contract year of $13.7 million in favor of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who also will be fighting for his first long-term contract, and to prove he belongs in the Nets’ long-term plans. Then, there’s Ed Davis, who plays basically the same, if not as spectacular, game as the Manimal. The two of them have a combined 2-of-22 percentage from deep ... and Faried has both makes. Shortly after the season begins, the two will also be the same age: 29. They’re likely playing for their last NBA contract.

Still, Faried will be expected to contribute significantly, as he stands as the team’s best rebounder on paper.

Off the floor, Faried received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his outstanding service and dedication to the community and an NBA Community Assist Award, in 2013. We know the Nets are very active community, so we expect Faried to make some rounds throughout the borough.

As Tim Connelly wrote on the Nuggets website Saturday, “There aren’t many players in the league who play with more energy or passion than Kenneth Faried. To watch him develop as a player and a man in Denver has been a joy to watch. Last season he handled a diminished role like a consummate professional. I’m excited for his next opportunity, but he will certainly be missed.”

And no goodbye is complete without the Instagram post, a stale in the land of NBA transactions. Faried had his, and he hopes Brooklyn is ready.

It was a year ago this week, almost to the day in fact, that the Nets sent a non-rotational player, Justin Hamilton, to the Raptors for DeMarre Carroll, a lottery protected first rounder (Dzanan Musa) and an unprotected second (Rodions Kurucs). Carroll was seen as a salary dump, a player on decline. He wound up having a career year in Brooklyn, reinvigorated, he says, by the culture and the performance team.

Can it happen again? The Manimal thinks so. Who are we to argue with him?