Ben Couch did a terrific job earlier this week looking back at Kris Humphries’ season, though the question still remains headed into this summer whether or not Hump will be back with the team, and if so, what is his role, besides roster filler?
From a financial standpoint, Hump has a player option for about $3.2 million that if he exercises, cuts into the cap space for the Nets this summer. I still liked the trade when the trigger was pulled earlier this year, as Hump, even with his salary, was a major roster and energy upgrade over the corpse of Eduardo Najera. The trade gave Hump an opportunity to get playing time, but he ended up producing in uneven fashion. He looked like a steal, when he scored more than 20 points twice against the Clippers in January, but was also prone to games like his 1-8, 8 point debacle against the Wizards on January 29.
Couch picks up on some key stats for Hump in his review, including his 18.0 rebounding rate while with the Nets, but also his penchant for shooting jumpers 58 percent of the time (with an eFG% of 37 percent). And that’s where Hump’s game confounds me, because for someone who is clearly so physically strong around the rim, he’s far too content to shoot jump shots. If he lived around the rim on offense, he could become a great instant offense, high energy guy around the rim, but he hasn’t shown the ability or the IQ to be that player. There also are the questions of Hump’s defense. While he showed more promise than Yi Jianlian, Hump still wasn’t great, allowing opposing PFs to score 23.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per 48 minutes, good for a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 19.8, according to 82games. Hump did a better job of holding opposing Cs in-check, as they averaged 16.5 points, 11.6 rebounds for a PER of 16.6.
But again, the question goes back to whether or not these numbers are good enough for Hump to be counted on next year. Not to be harsh, but I think Hump proved what he was last season, a competent backup on a lottery team. He’s never played significant minutes for a winner, and while they may be chalked up to who he was backing up (Chris Bosh in Toronto, Dirk in Dallas), it’s not like Hump was able to truly distinguish himself in New Jersey. The Nets may not have a choice whether or not he’ll be back next season, but if the team hopefully goes out and gets a legit PF and keeps Yi, Hump will be back to the third string again, while the Nets should hopefully be able to get back into the playoff picture without him.