The "Camp questions" train just keeps chugging along. Today, in the 10th edition, we'll take a look at the much maligned Kris Humphries as he tries valiantly to win over the fans of Boston.
About Kris Humphries:
You know, as recently as three years ago Kris Humphries was just another failed first round pick. He was drafted 14th overall by the Jazz way back in 2004, making the leap to the NBA at the tender age of 19. However, it wasn't a smooth transition for Humphries, who averaged only 3.6 PPG in two seasons in Salt Lake City before a trade to the Raptors in 2006. But it was more of the same north of the border as Humphries averaged only 4.6 PPG and 3.2 RPG in three disappointing seasons in Toronto.
Humphries would be traded two times during his sixth season. First from Toronto to Dallas, and later from the Mavs to the Nets. All of a sudden Humphries had played six full seasons in the NBA without making a single impact, and without marrying a single reality star.
That all changed in 2010-11, as Humphries started dating
Those feelings were only exacerbated for Celtics fans on November 28th of last year, when this happened.
Humphries and Rajon Rondo threw down under the basket and suddenly Humphries went from "disliked" to full blown "hated" in Beantown. This was all fine and dandy until July, when suddenly Hump was a Celtic. And not only was he traded to the Cs, but he was traded for two legends in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Yikes.
Humphries will make $12 million this season, the final year of a 2 year, $24 million deal he signed last summer.
1. Can he win Celtics fans over?
You know what's weird? As unlikable as some of the things that Humphries has done/said are..the way he plays is actually really admirable.
He crashes the boards (career 11 rebounds per-36 minutes), plays hard defensively and doesn't turn the ball over. The question is: will that be enough to win over angry Cs fans? Personally I'm ready to embrace Hump for as long as he's here. He's a viable big man who, while overpaid, brings a knack for rebounding to a team that doesn't have all that much of it.
But make no mistake, some Celtics fans are still hoping against hope that he never suits up for the team. I think that that it actually has a lot less to do with the Kardashian stuff than the Rondo fight, which really rubbed fans the wrong way. But in reality, Humphries did very little wrong in the scuffle. He fouled KG, sure. But the foul wasn't egregious. All of a sudden Rondo was in his face pushing him, a fiery reaction that shows Rondo's commitment to his teammates. But was that Hump's fault?
I do hope that all Celtics fans can give this guy a shot based on his merits as a player (which we're getting to now). Not to mention his pretty sick self-depricating humor (absolute fire commercial).
2. Could Humphries be the first Celtic in seven years to average ten boards a game?
In 2010-11, six NBA players averaged double-digit rebounds. They were: Kevin Love, Dwight Howard, Zach Randolph, Blake Grifin, Pau Gasol and Kris Humphries.
In 2011-12, eight players turned the trick: Love, Howard, Griffin, Gasol, DeMarcus Cousins, Andrew Bynum, Marcin Gortat, and Humphries.
Over those two seasons Humphries was one of only five players to average 10+ points and 10+ rebounds both years. That is to say, this is a guy with a unique skill-set. He is not merely a good rebounder, but when he gets playing time he's one of the best rebounders in basketball.
His career 5.5 rebounds per game number does not tell the story, as Humphries has spent much of his career as a bit player. In fact, he has only averaged more than 20 minutes per game twice, both times topping ten rebounds per-game.
That skill should earn him significant playing time on a Celtics team not exactly overflowing with rebounders. Sure, Jared Sullinger can grab boards. But after him? Kelly Olynyk was a decent rebounder at Gonzaga, Brandon Bass is merely adequate, and neither Jeff Green or Avery Bradley is much of a rebounder for their position. That leaves quite a few boards up for grabs, and if Brad Stevens turns Hump loose for around 25-28 minutes per night, I think he can come very close to double-digits in that category.
If he can pull that off he'll become the first Celtic to average at least ten boards since Al Jefferson, who averaged 11 in 2006-07.
3. Will he still be in Boston after the trade deadline?
Despite his rebounding chops, it's extremely easy to see the Celtics moving Humphries before February's trading deadline, for a few reasons.
A. He's 28 years old and an impending free agent. Not exactly the type of guy rebuilding clubs build around.
B. He's better suited as a rebounding ace for a playoff team than one for a club destined to win 30 games.
C. His $12 million deal is expiring, making him much more attractive to both contending teams and teams looking to deal big money players.
A and B are pretty self-explanatory, but I want to talk about C in a little more detail.
While it's possible that Humphries ends up being dealt to a contender who appreciates his skill-set, I think it's far more likely that he's dealt as an expiring contract. Between Humphries, Keith Bogans and Jordan Crawford the Cs have just under $20 million in expiring deals, something that could help Danny Ainge at least entertain the idea of acquiring a star to run with Rondo.
Those expiring deals (led by Hump at $12M) packaged with some combination of first round picks (the Celtics have 9 between 2014-18), and/or young cost controlled players (Bradley, Olynyk, Sullinger) opens up the Celtics as a potential trade suitor for any big name star that gets put on the market between now and February.
Last season of course the big name was Josh Smith. This year it could be Rudy Gay (free agent in 2014), Zach Randolph (FA in 2014) or Kevin Love (FA after 2015).
That's not to say that Ainge will mortgage the future for a guy like Gay (I think that would be a horrific move), but rather that Humphries expiring deal gives the Celtics the ability to throw their hat in the ring whenever the next superstar is available at a discount. Much like the way the Kwame Brown contract allowed the Lakers to deal for Pau Gasol in 2008, or the way that Theo Ratliff brought KG to Boston.
Expiring contracts matter in the NBA. In fact they are essential to nearly every big deal that goes down. That gives Hump value beyond just what he brings on the court, and could make the trade deadline an exciting time for Celtics fans.
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For more of the "camp questions", click here Michael Dyer 9/24/2013 01:49:00 PM Tweet Edit