Stats: 57 G, 27 GS, 8.8 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.1 apg, .9 bpg, .526 FG%, .679 FT%, 17.89 PER
Preseason expectations: While there are certainly a lot worse players out there getting minutes off the bench in the NBA, I’m hard pressed to figure where Kris Humphries fits into this Nets rotation. Troy Murphy and Derrick Favors appear to be the de facto one and two on the depth chart, while Johan Petro figures to get the bulk of minutes backing up Brook Lopez. When you consider that Humphries is only on this roster because of a player option clause in his contract, I can’t imagine him fitting into the Nets long-term plans, and his expiring contract will certainly be trade bait.
The Good: Here’s my official mea culpa. Without Kris Humphries this year, who knows how bad this team would be. He’s taken a golden opportunity, the banishment of Troy Murphy and the rookie jitters of Derrick Favors, and has turned it into a highly productive NBA season. He’s been a rebounding monster, with the 4th best rebounding rate in the entire NBA. He’s put up 16 double-doubles this season. His shot selection has gotten better, and as a result, his field goal percentage. Last year, nearly 58 percent of his field goal attempts were jumpers. That number is down to 49 percent this season. He also hasn’t missed a bit since being symbolically replaced in the starting line-up by Favors. Hump has been consistent, he’s been a hard worker, and he has one of the hottest girlfriends in the world. What’s not to love?
The Bad: Hump is still a bit of a liability on defense. The team has a better defensive efficiency (108.4 points per 100 possessions) when he’s off the floor compared to when he’s on the floor (112.7 points per 100 possessions). And while he’s taking smarter shots compared to last year, he’s still taking 1.1 18-23 footers every game and only connecting on 34 percent of them. It would be nice for Hump to take that shot totally out of his repertoire.
The Extra: Considering the Nets were forced to keep Humphries this past season due to a player option, there’s been a total reversal of fortune. Nets coach Avery Johnson recently told the media he would like to keep Humphries beyond this season. Given that he’s currently making $3.5 million this season, Hump should probably expect a hefty raise. Meanwhile, Hump’s star off the court is on the rise. He started dating reality-show starlet Kim Kardashian, and as a result, has hired a Hollywood publicist to habndle the Kardashian-related questions thrown his way. Who says the Nets don’t have star power?
Final Grade: Humphries may be the biggest surprise on the roster this season, and despite the hard time I’ve given Avery Johnson, Hump is his biggest success story to claim on this roster. Avery has Hump playing intelligently and with desire and grit. He’s evolving into exactly the kind of player Nets fans optimistically envisioned when they shipped out Eduardo Najera to Dallas last season. He has his flaws as a player, and I’d like to see Derrick Favors finish some games on the floor instead of Hump, but that’s picking nits. Grade: B+