Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Overall, Humphries’ focus this summer was to go above and beyond his usual workout routine, especially after his inconsistent season in Brooklyn and finding out he’d have a fresh start in Boston. Teaming up with Rajon Rondo also piqued his interest.
“I didn’t know if I was going to end up staying [in Brooklyn] or not, or what the deal was,” he said. “It was a little bit of a surprise, but at the same time, you get a chance to play with a guy like Rondo, who won a championship and has been an All-Star and done all those things. I’m excited because he’s a guy that plays at a high pace the whole game. He’s a great passer, whether it’s in transition or the half-court. I’m hoping that he gets back as soon as possible.
“I talked to coach [Brad] Stevens a lot about playing at an up-tempo pace — get out there and run. So I’m prepared to do that. I think that will be great for everyone. We have a lot of younger guys, so I think to play at an up-tempo pace will give us a chance to compete every night.”
We didn’t touch on this when the story was released on Friday afternoon, but there are a handful of tidbits here that raise an eyebrow. The first of which is the above quote from Humphries and his excitement towards playing with Rondo. Apparently brawling with Rondo did nothing to damage his opinion or eagerness towards playing with him. But that wasn’t the only part of that piece that stuck out. Here are a few more nuggets:
During their very first session together in early August — Weber is based in L.A. and has worked with Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce in the past — Humphries noticed the difference. He then made the commitment to put in work five days a week, starting at 8:30 a.m. and going for two hours.
“Kris had about as hard a working month as I’ve ever seen. He’s in unbelievable shape,” Weber said. “He just worked, worked, worked, and the last workout before he went back to Minnesota — after about five weeks of hard work — he made 15 in a row from the elbow and 10 in a row from the corner 3. Kris is transforming his game, and his belief level is starting to soar. He was playing really well over in Clipperland. I went and saw him play one day and he looked great.”
Weber was especially impressed with Humphries’ new step-back jumper, which will be a key weapon when he faces opposing power forwards and centers.
“For a big 5 to guard him, he can blow by him with one dribble because of his quickness,” Weber said. “So if he has a step-back? Thinking of his game and the evolution of him, it was a necessity because he’s got the quickness and now he can make an elbow jumper at a higher percentage. Once you can make that consistent elbow jump shot and you have quickness on your opponent, you become almost unguardable or you’ve just become really beneficial to a team.”
Weber, as in Phil Weber, has been an assistant coach under Mike D’Antoni with the Suns and Knicks (if you didn’t read “Seven Seconds or Less” he is in the book quite a bit). Anyway, after reading this you’d think ‘wow, well hey we just found our 4/5 for the next 5 years!’ Then you think: ‘Oh wait, he’s in a contract year, that’s right.’ Oh, and about that contract year:
Humphries’ dedication to his development even showed his past weekend when he arrived in Boston, already moving into an apartment.
“This is the earliest he’s ever reported to camp, so he’s going to have about three good weeks of work before training camp starts,” Ketroser said. “He wants to get acclimated, he wants to get to know everyone, he wants to really prove to everyone, ‘Look, I’m here, I’m devoted, I’m ready to rock and roll.’ That’s where his head’s at. He’s looking to have a good year and would love to sign a three- or four-year deal and stay in Boston, and be part of them turning around.”
Humphries envisions a brighter future for himself in Boston, starting with the support of new coach Stevens, who called him regularly this summer to check on him and offer motivation. (Interestingly, Humphries’ third cousin, Brian Ligon, played for Stevens at Butler.) In Brooklyn, Humphries went from starting to seeing inconsistent minutes to being brought up in trade talks. While he struggled a bit offensively with the Nets — his rebounding was still strong at 11.0 per 36 minutes — Ketroser said Humphries was disappointed about his role there.
Wow, I never thought I’d actually share something in common with Humphires. No, I’ve had no relationship with a Kardashian and I don’t have a third cousin that played for Brad Stevens. I too, however, would love to sign a 3 or 4 year deal with the Celtics. All kidding aside, this is all great stuff to read about Humphries and I’m probably in the minority in that I actually expect him to have a solid bounce-back year because the guy can actually play, but he just got buried in Brooklyn. He’ll likely get plenty of time early in the season to be showcased for a trade because I just don’t see the C’s over-spending on him after this season regardless of how good he turns out. Humphries would have been a perfect addition to this team throughout the entire KG/P/Ray/Doc contending era, but not so much for a rebuilding team. The Celtics won’t be tanking and Humphries shares in that line of thinking:
Even though they’re not in the top-five team conversation in the Eastern Conference — that would include the Heat, Bulls, Pacers, Nets and Knicks — Humphries and management are prepared to make some noise.
“Last year was a tough situation, up and down. For whatever reason, sometimes things just don’t work out,” Humphries said. “No real fingers to point; I’m just in a different situation now. I’m motivated and I’m looking to make the most out of it. It’s funny, of all the places I would end up, I never thought I would play in Boston, but just from being around those guys, it should be exciting. We’re out to try to prove that we’re a team that can compete every night, and whenever people sort of write you off, it’s a lot of motivation.
“I’m not looking to be a part of a tanking situation. I know that [president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge has said that they’re not looking to tank, and I’m sure Brad Stevens coming in is definitely not looking to do that. So it’s just about competing and bringing it every night. We’re going to have to figure out ways to win and continue to get better, and it starts with camp.”
This story is just an amazing 180 compared to what he seemed like during his introductory press conference a few months ago. That’s good for Humphries and the team because if he plays well it will only help both parties involved. It makes sense to read this type of glowing story from a guy in his contract year. One of the guys he was traded with here however, Gerald Wallace, has yet to be heard from. Strange, or maybe not since he’s still sitting on a nice $30 million. Maybe we’ll hear soon about how much he’s ready to rejuvenate his career. Or, just check out the rest of the links to see one piece that was written describing that.
The rest of the links:
Celtics.com – Five reasons why Wallace will rebound | Boston Globe (Sunday Notes) – Departure from Seattle a bad memory for new Hall of Famer Gary Payton