62 GP, 62 GS, 13.8 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.2 BPG, 0.8 SPG, 53.9 TS%, 17.98 PER
After a career season, Kris Humphries went into free agency expecting a big contract and ended up re-signing with his old team for just one year. I think this only works to the Nets benefit. Not just because it keeps their payroll flexible for other, “bigger” acquisitions, but it keeps Hump from getting too complacent. Was last year a fluke? Was it a contract year performance? Doesn’t matter as much now since Humphries is going to end up doing this all again next summer. The thing is, the Nets do need the Hump of last year if they’re going to compete for a playoff spot this year (and that’s not even considering the long-term implications of being without Brook Lopez).
Well, Kris Humphries had another career year. Almost 14 PPG and 11 boards were both career highs for him, as well as minutes played, field goals attempted and most other moderately meaningful stats. Yes, it was a contract year, and yes, he played a lot of minutes, but that doesn’t mean that Humphries wasn’t playing for a future investment – it was the first time in his NBA career that he received all the minutes he could handle, and after about a good seven years of being seen as an immature project, Humphries found his niche and his groove. He became a bonafide NBA player with the New Jersey Nets.
Here’s what Humphries displayed definitely about himself – he’s a legitimate rebounder and defensive presence with some ability to operate offensively out of the post, which is more than what half of the power forwards and centers in the league can do. At 27 years and now an eight-year veteran, what’s amazing is that he still have real ability to grow. He’s still unpolished when it comes to scoring around the basket, and his footwork isn’t the greatest, but he managed to be a threat within five feet of the basket, as his strength and mass allowed him to gain a discernible position in the post against the vast majority of opposing players. A running hook and a more reliable 10-foot jump shot would serve him well, and I’m not worried that he might not add those to his repertoire.
If the Brooklyn Nets know what’s good for them, they will lock up Hump to a long-term deal, hire him a shooting coach, and let him keep growing. Mind you, it’s not out of the question that he played out of position as a center, but the great thing about the Nets is that they have the roster room to give him space to operate at both positions, depending on their future acquisitions.
Note: Justin DeFeo also contributed to this piece.