Boston – I’ll be the first to admit that, after the scuffle that took place between Rajon Rondo and Kris Humphries on November 28 of last year, I couldn’t stand the sight of the 28 year old Minnesota product, and for a number of reasons.
First of all, the fisticuff resulted in the ejection of Rondo – among others – stopping his historical streak of 37-games with 10 assists or more dead in its tracks. And despite the fact that Rondo placed his named amongst some of the greatest floor generals of all time – tied for second with John Stockton, seven games short of tying Magic Johnson’s 44-game streak – you can’t help but wonder how much longer he could’ve continued his streak had he not been tossed.
But perhaps what angered me the most was the way in which Humphries took to Twitter after the game, posting a tweet (which has since been deleted) that featured a picture of his mildly scratched arm followed by a caption that read, “Does anybody know where I can get a tetanus shot in Boston?”
It appeared that the 6’9, 235 pound Humphries was trying to make himself out as the victim of a violent attack he suffered at the hands of the 6’1, 171 pound Rondo.
“Give me a break,” I thought to myself. This was a guy who was already disliked by fans around the league due to his failed marriage with reality T.V. star/model, Kim Kardashian. Now I’ll be honest, I have no idea why Humphries took so much flack for something that had absolutely nothing to do with his basketball career. There was no scandal involved. He didn’t cheat on her, didn’t abuse her, or anything along those lines. It just simply didn’t work out. Nonetheless, it still makes you wonder why he would want to risk drawing what was sure to be even more negative attention towards himself.
At this point it doesn’t matter anymore. What’s important is the here and now, a time that has Humphries slated to become a teammate of the man who had once “victimized” him. So instead of dwelling on the past and bottling up old feelings, I think it’s time we all open our eyes to the fact that we’re getting a very solid player in Kris.
Before falling out of the Nets’ rotation last year, Humphries had averaged a double-double in each of the previous two seasons. In 2010-11, the big man averaged an even 10 points and 10.4 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game, numbers he would improve upon in 2011-12 (13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds in 34.9 minutes per). Had he not been regulated to just 18.3 minutes per night in 2012-13, his numbers would have been right on par with those of his double-double years, posting 11.3 points and 11.0 rebounds per 36 minutes. But with the additions of Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans to the rotation, Humphries was overshadowed by a better scorer in Blatche and a better rebounder in Evans.
The situation will be similar in Beantown this year as Brad Stevens has to find a way to distribute minutes between Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass, and Humphries at the four spot. But due to their lack of depth at the center position, Stevens might be forced to play two of his power forwards simultaneously. As a result, we should realistically expect Humphries to receive somewhere between 25-28 minutes of floor time during 2013-14. And if the shallow group of middle men doesn’t convince you of that then consider the Celtics’ need to display what Humphries can bring to an NBA roster, something they’ll need to do if they hope to increase his value to a level that makes him more than just an expiring contract. But whatever the case may be, I fully expect to see Humphries return to his 2010-2012 form because of the determination his displayed thus far in the offseason.
When asked about the status of his relationship with Rondo at the Celtics’ introductory presser, Humphries stated, “I’m just going to have to come in and work hard and earn his [Rondo’s] respect and it’ll go from there.” What’s more, Humphries further displayed his drive to return to as the player that finished fifth in rebounding two years in a row (2010-11, 2011-12) via Twitter earlier this afternoon. According to his account, Kris tweeted, “Just realized it’s Shark Week,” yesterday which drew a response from fellow NBA player, Chase Budinger. Budinger said, “where u been bro. How u not know its #sharkweek. Lol.” To that Humphries replied, “I’ve been in the gym and there is no tv in the gym. Lol.” You have to love that from any player, not just Humphries.
With that said, please rethink your opinions of Kris Humphries. He works hard, plays the game right, and appears to be a loyal teammate. During a rebuilding effort, that’s all you can really ask from a veteran presence such as Humphries.
All stats via Basketball-Reference.
Follow me on Twitter: @TimMacLean_