Players on teams not contending for a playoff spot usually don’t warrant much attention, but while the Nets’ forward Kris Humphries isn't a household name, he’s has quietly become one of the most underrated big men in the NBA.
Humphries doesn’t get on the nightly highlight reel on Sports Center, but he doesn’t need to. Humphries scores his points through doing dirty work and contributes through stats that often never make their way on the stat sheet.
Often disregarded by the opposition, Humphries always comes out of nowhere to make a block on an opponent that thinks he has a clear path for a score.
Here are the reason why the other 29 teams in the NBA will have to take Humphries into consideration when they play against the Nets.
On March 14, 2010, the New Jersey Nets upset the Boston Celtics.
Three days later the Nets took on another Eastern Conference powerhouse in the Chicago Bulls. New Jersey lost, but the game was a breakout for Humphries.
In roughly 40 minutes, Humphries had 13 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.
Of the 16 Humphries’ rebounds, seven were on the offensive end, compared with the 11 grabbed by the Bulls squad on the other end of the floor. Humphries grabbed seven offensive rebounds earlier in the season, but this time it was against a team that was second in the league in terms of rebounds per game.
Within a period of a week, Humphries held his own against Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis and Joakim Noah.
Ok, so these lyrics aren’t original.
(Look up Taking Care of Business by Bachman-Turner Overdrive)
Out of all of the NBA’s top 10 rebounders, Kris Humphries is the only one that is averaging less than 30 minutes played per game. To be exact, Humphries is averaging 27.4 MPG, which is good enough for fifth in the league. Emeka Okafor is the closest with 31.9 MPG with 9.7 RPG, which is good enough for seventh place.
Kris Humphries, toe-to-toe with Kevin Garnett.
The top four rebounders in the league are Kevin Love, Dwight Howard, Zach Randolph and Blake Griffin. Below Humphries are names like Pau Gasol, Emeka Okafor, Al Jefferson, Al Horford and David Lee.
Doesn't standing toe-to-toe with the aforementioned players make for a good rebounder?
Plus, Humphries has only started 38 of the 68 games that the Nets played this season. What if Humphries played more minutes? Adjusting for a 48 minute average, Humphries is third in the league with 17.8 rebounds per 48 minutes played, just behind Kevin Love and Dwight Howard.
What if Humphries didn't have to give up his starting spot to Derrick Favors? Would the Nets have been better off with Humphries in the starting lineup? Definitely.
Kris Humphries is not just a rebounding machine; he's much more than a one dimensional player. Not only is he willing to sacrifice his body in order to out-rebound his opponent or take a charge, but Humphries also works as the Nets rejection specialist.
Take a look at the video and see Humphries block Marcus Camby and then Brandon Roy, all in the same play.
On the season, Humphries is averaging 1.09 blocks per game.
Kris Humphries protecting the rim.
The Nets have went through a lot of turmoil this season. A five-game loosing streak early in the season, the incorporation of a rookie, Derrick Favors, into the starting lineup, the rebounding struggles of Brook Lopez, trading away of Devin Harris and Favors, as well as the arrival of Deron Williams to name a few.
Kris Humphries was there to step in when he was most needed. Humphries has had 10 double-doubles in eleven games since Williams' arrival in New Jersey. While Humphries is only 16th in the league with 26 double-doubles, he's the only player in the top 20 that is averaging less than 30 minutes per game.
While all the players in that category are there because of their skills, I'm certain that Humphries is also there because of his tenacity and perseverance that has never waned despite a season full of disparaging results.
Humphries might never be a superstar, but he doesn't need to be one. Underrated, Humphries often gets neglected by the opposition, but he's always ready to remind them that they should never underestimate him.