Buried in a front court rotation at the beginning of the season, Kris Humphries continued to plug away, work hard in practice, and be an ultimate professional in supporting his teammates from the bench. Not once did he complain about his lack of minutes, despite logging 4 DNP’s due to coach’s decision in the first 8 games of the year.
Behind Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass, and rookie bigs Kelly Olynyk and Vitor Faverani, Humphries wasn’t discouraged. He has been in the league long enough to know it would only be a matter of time until an injury or poor play would give him an opportunity to prove his worth on this team. And he sure has taken that opportunity.
His playing style of physical rebounding, an impressive ability to block shots and defend the paint, good finishes around the rim, and a nice mid-range jump shot are great qualities to have in a power forward. Humphries has been a great hustle player as the first man off the bench over the month of December, averaging 19.6 minutes while putting up 8.6 points at an impressive 62%, and 5.1 rebounds per contest.
Against Atlanta tonight, Humphries posted a season-high 18 points and 10 boards to register his first double-double for Boston. Such has been Humphries ability to force his way into the rotation via hard work, he has now become the first player off Coach Stevens’ bench, while poor old Vitor Faverani is now logging DNP’s.
Not only does this help in the short term for the development of the Celtics young bigs, to learn from Hump on how to run the floor and to make the most of the opportunities given to you, it also helps increase his trade value.
An expiring contract from a very capable power forward and a professional is something that should be very appealing to a team looking to make a deep post-season run. It is highly unlikely that Humphries will still be in green by February’s trade deadline. Danny Ainge will have the opportunity to add more picks and create more cap room for the 2014 offseason, something all Celtic fans should be very excited about.
In the meantime, we can continue to admire a player Celtic fans originally didn’t want on their team. A will to put his body on the line and continue to make the right decisions on the floor have been a pleasure to watch.
Share your thoughts on Humphries’ recent strong play with us in the comments!
– Michael (@mickyt34)