Tag: Kris Humphries

Charlotte Bobcats v Boston Celtics

ProBasketballTalk 2013-14 Preview: The Boston Celtics


Last season: For the first half of the season Boston — with veterans like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce — looked like that team everyone wants to avoid in the first round. Remember, the year before they had taken Miami seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Maybe this version of the Celtics wasn’t going to be a title team, but they were going to be a tough out.

Then in late January Rajon Rondo blew out his knee and all bets were off. That injury was the first domino in a rebuild that landed full force this summer. Boston went on to win 41 games but was bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Knicks.

Signature highlight from last season: Jeff Green makes a poster with Al Jefferson in it.

Key player changes: Welcome to rebuilding Celtics fans. It’s painful and kind of sucks. As has been said the Rondo injury was the first domino, the next was Doc Rivers heading to the Los Angeles Clippers — he was replaced in a surprise move by Butler College’s Brad Stevens, a guy very well respected in coaching circles but a guy making a jump from a mid-major college to one of the most prestigious jobs in the NBA. Danny Ainge rolled the dice on that one.

Then came the big trade that officially meant end of the big three era (which really ended when Ray Allen left anyway)—Pierce, Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets in exchange for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, and three future first round draft picks. (Those picks are key in a rebuild.) That trade made it clear Boston was all in for the rebuild and the only question left was how far down that “get bad to get good” rabbit hole they wanted to go. Danny Ainge and everyone in Boston says they are not tanking, but should they?

Boston also brought in Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson through the draft. After one season, they let Fab Melo walk.

Keys to the Celtics’ season:

1. Can Rajon Rondo be a central building block? Can everyone tune out the trade rumors? Rondo could well miss the first part of the season due to his knee injury (no timeline is set), but his return date is not the biggest question about him or the team. Put simply, is Rondo the future in Boston or not?

Rondo is now the unquestioned leader on this team, but it’s time to prove he can really lead. On the court he has been fantastic when tasked with setting up veteran star players, but his jumper has been inconsistent and a lot more pressure to score will fall on him. Off the court he can be challenging and at times abrasive — you can lead being that way at times (KG and Kobe Bryant are as well), but you can’t be that way all the time. Rondo needs to show he is ready for the leadership role in Boston.

Then he and his teammates have  to tune out the trade rumors that will fly around this team. We should expect GM Danny Ainge to shop Kris Humphries like mad and if he can find a taker for Gerald Wallace he is gone as well. Really everyone on the roster is available… except Rondo. Maybe, well probably not Rondo. Ainge has listened to offers for Rondo for a couple of years now, and I suspect that will not change. But he also never pulled the trigger and has said he wants to see if Rondo can lead. He needs to be publicly firm about this now. If Ainge thinks the rebuilding of the Celtics is better done with the pieces they can get by moving Rondo (who has a lot of value around the league) then now is the time — get the best deal you can for him this season and move on. But I think what we will see long before that is Rondo getting his chance to lead Boston into whatever is next.

2. Jeff Green needs to be consistent. There was a game last season where Jeff Green went toe-to-toe with LeBron James and held his own by and large (Miami won but Green was impressive). That is the engaged Jeff Green. But there are so many other games (and halves of games) where he is Casper — he floats around, doesn’t make an impact and is generally passive. With all their roster changes the Celtics are putting a lot more responsibility on Green’s shoulders and he needs to show up and lead every night. Garnett said last year Green needs to be more of an a******* and KG was right. That needs to start this year. Green and Avery Bradley need to step up into the void on this team following the KG/Pierce trade.

3. You’re rebuilding, so throw the kids and see who can play. The Celtics have said they are not in the tank for Wiggins, and the truth is in the East they have the talent on the roster to potentially chase a bottom playoff seed — Rondo, Humphries, Wallace, Courtney Lee and Brandon Bass can all play. We know what they can do.

However, for the future of the franchise show me more Avery Bradley (who could have a big year), more Kelly Olynyk, more MarShon Brooks, more Jared Sullinger, more Phil Pressey. Those guys are only going to get bet better with experience on the court and this is the kind of season where you give it to them, even if that is frustrating at times.

Why you should watch the Celtics: Kelly Olynyk — the floppy haired rookie out of Gonzaga was a breath of fresh air at Summer League and one of the most fun players to watch. He showed he can rebound, scores well inside and just seems to be having fun out there. This coming season may not be a lot of fun in Boston depending on how things shake out, but Olynyk will be.

Prediction: 32-50. Honestly, that number is just a dart blindly thrown at the board — this team could be around .500 if they play their veterans and everything breaks right, or they could be the 13 seed and come apart at the seams. Teams in transition are hard to predict. If Rondo comes back healthy and can be a leader, if Avery Bradley’s offensive game takes a step forward, if Jared Sullinger is healthy, if Brad Stevens can coach at the NBA level, and most importantly if the Celtics can find a new identity then maybe they could get the eight seed. Probably not, but maybe at the bottom of the East where under .500 can get you in the dance. However, the more likely outcome is this is a pretty poor team that sees a lot of roster turnover in trades this season as the Celtics reboot and rebuild. So I’ll go with 32 wins.

ProBasketballTalk 2013-14 Preview: The Brooklyn Nets

Newly acquired Net's Pierce, Garnett and Terry hold up their new jerseys as they pose for a photo with principal owner Prokhorov after a news conference in Brooklyn

Today kicks off ProBasketballTalk’s season previews. Over the next six weeks we will preview every team in the NBA, looking at the upcoming season. We will start in the Atlantic Division.

Last season: Brooklyn baby!! The Nets moved out of New Jersey to Brooklyn, into their sweet new crib the Barclays Center, wearing a new stylish black-and-white look. On the court they were 27 wins better than the season before — thanks to Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace joining a mostly healthy Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace. Brooklyn had a good offense but struggled on the other ends of the court much of the year. The Nets made the playoffs as the four seed but fell in seven games to a Chicago Bulls team that had an ingrained identity and was tougher.

Signature highlight from last season: Deron Williams sets NBA record with nine first-half threes (11 for the game).

Key player changes: Mikhail Prokhorov laughs at your puny salary cap. With luxury tax provisions ratcheting up this season teams everywhere are looking to shed salary and avoid the tax — but not the Nets. They head into the season with a payroll of $102.2 million (according to Shamsports.com), which will mean about $87 million more in taxes. That’s $189 million just in player payroll.

But they added real talent — a trade with Boston brings Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets (in exchange for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, and three future first round draft picks). The Nets also got Andrei Kirilenko at a steal of a deal ($3.2 million next season, the tax-payers midlevel exception). All of that, especially the AK47 deal, angered a lot of people around the league who don’t like guys flaunting their strict mew new rules.

Keys to the Nets season:

1. Keep Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce healthy for the playoffs. In the playoffs last year Chicago — as banged up as the Bulls were without Derrick Rose and Luol Deng — were just tougher than the Nets. Garnett and Pierce solve that. Garnett quarterbacking the defense also should improve the Nets on that end of the court — but all of that only works if they are healthy come the playoffs. Those are not young bodies. New coach Jason Kidd should understand this, but he has to keep the minutes for those veterans under control (as Doc Rivers did in Boston) so they are their old selves come the postseason.

2. Deron Williams plays like the Utah version of himself. Last season was the best one Deron Williams has had since his trade to the Nets — he had a true shooting percentage of 57.4 (combining field goals, threes and free throws) which was his best since 2009 in Utah. He started to play like a superstar again — remember five years ago there was a “D-Will or Chris Paul “ discussion. Not anymore. The Nets offense runs through Williams, and he needs to take another step forward for the Nets to reach their goal — he has to be a superstar again. He’s got weapons around him, but how will he use them.

3. Defense. They can’t be average (last season they were 17th in the league in points allowed per possession). Garnett is supposed to help on that end of the court, but it’s going to take more than just him. Brook Lopez has treated defense as an afterthought, he can’t anymore. Kirilenko has to come off the bench and block shots. Jason Kidd has to put a system in place that focuses on that end. The Nets will score, but they need to get more regular stops.

4. Can Jason Kidd coach? Last season we had no idea what kind of team the Nets ultimately wanted to be — they slowed the game down (third slowest pace in the league) but they didn’t play good defense (which if you are going to reduce possessions you need to do). Nobody questions Kidd as a leader or Kidd as a guy with great basketball IQ, but that is different than being able to coach/teach those things. Can Kidd (with Lawrence Frank at his side) give this team an identity? Can he make good Xs and Os adjustments? Can he draw up good plays at the end of games? Can he make sure Pierce and KG get rest and hit the playoffs healthy? Can he do all that in his first year? Maybe, but it’s a tall order.

Why you should watch the Nets: Watch Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce make one more run at a ring. This is probably it — these Nets have at best a two-year window with this roster and the reality is this year is their best shot. These are two future Hall of Fame players, we should savor getting to see them make one more run at a ring. We’ll miss them when they are gone.

Prediction: 54-28, somewhere between the 3-5 seed in and they get to at least the second round of the playoffs. These Nets will be better on the court than last year’s Nets, they will likely be a top four seed in the East (they could fall to five, no lower barring injuries). The Nets see themselves as contenders but a lot of things have to go just right for them — everything mentioned in the keys has to break just their way.

On paper this is a potential contender, but I’m not convinced they can meld all of this together perfectly in one year. I think this becomes the most expensive second round playoff team in NBA history.

Kris Humphries says he’s ‘not looking to be a part of a tanking situation’ with Celtics

Brooklyn Nets v New York Knicks

Kris Humphries came to the Celtics this summer in the deal that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, which launched Boston’s rebuilding project at the very same time.

It’s never easy to go from a playoff team to an expected lottery team, and Humphries made it clear that he’s going to do what he can to help his team win.

And that means he wants no part of any “tanking situation” that may come up with the Celtics.

From Jared Zwerling of ESPN Boston:

“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.”

The whole “tanking” question is one of intent at the organizational level, when a team doesn’t do everything it can to attempt to field a competitive, winning roster. It has virtually nothing to do with players and coaches.

The Philadelphia 76ers are a prime example of this entering next season. They didn’t bother to hire a head coach until long after the draft, and also haven’t bothered to spend the league-mandated minimum amount of salary in assembling the roster — a roster which is woefully inadequate from an overall talent perspective.

What the SIxers have done? That’s tanking. Players and coaches, however, are never involved in playing at half speed or making in-game decisions that would see their teams lose games. In that regard, Humphries has little to worry about in his new situation with the Celtics.

Jordan Crawford says Celtics teammates starting to look at him as leader. Okay then.

Boston Celtics Jordan Crawford goes up for the jump shot in front of Toronto Raptors John Lucas III in Toronto

The Boston Celtics are Rajon Rondo’s team now.

Well, unless they trade him, but heading into camp this is unquestionably Rondo’s team. However, if he’s not back at the start of the season (we have no timeline) then others may have to step up. There are respected veterans in that locker room such as Brandon Bass, Gerald Wallace, Jeff Green and….

Jordan Crawford?

Well, he thinks his teammates expect him to be.

Okay. It is his second season in Boston, so maybe rookies such as Phil Pressey and Kelly Olynyk I could see. After that…

It’s going to be an interesting season in Boston because they are rebuilding now and there is nobody on that roster safe from being traded. You can bet Danny Ainge is going to try and dangle the expiring contract of Kris Humphries out there, and if he can find a taker for Bass or Wallace or Courtney Lee they will be gone as well.

Maybe by the end Crawford will be the stabilizing influence. I’m not sure I’d bet on that, but it’s going to be an unpredictable season in Boston.

Apparently fans confuse Blake Griffin, Kris Humphries all the time

Take Flight Media Event 2013

source: Getty Images

source: Getty Images

Look at those images. Do Blake Griffin and Kris Humphries look alike to you?

They have roughly the same build, Griffin is an inch taller and has 15 pounds or so on Humphries, but to the average person they are both just very tall, big men.

They also are both recognizable in popular culture — Griffin for his basketball skills and with that a plethora of endorsement deals, Humphries for his short-lived marriage to Kim Kardashian.

And fans confuse the two all the time. Apparently. Both Humphries (with Boston this season) and Griffin were working out at the Clippers facility this summer and Humphries told Griffin about a woman coming up to him and mistaking him for Griffin. Jared Zwerling tells the story for ESPNBoston.com.

“I came in the gym and I was like, ‘Blake, someone thought I was you,’ ” Humphries told ESPN.com. “And he’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah, the same thing happens to me all the time.’ It’s just funny because sometimes someone will come up to me and be like, ‘Blake, blah blah blah.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not him.’ And they think I’m being a d— because of it. I feel bad. I’m like, ‘I hope this person doesn’t think it was actually Blake and I’m not trying to talk to him.’ But I don’t think we look alike at all. I mean, we’re about the same size, the same build.”

I don’t get it, they don’t look alike to me, but then again I’m not a casual fan.

Humphries should use this to get a few endorsement deals, however. Who’s going to know?