Kris Humpries joins a growing list of former Raptors we have talked with. I have always thought it is something important to do when the opportunities come along to do so. He came to the Raptors in a trade for the poster boy of the Rob Babcock Era in Rafael Araujo. The fact Colangelo was able to trade Araujo for anything beyond some athletic supporters was amazing. If you think that is harsh by all means check out the stats from his 3 year NBA Career. It only took Utah a year to give up on him, it took Raptors two. Humphries meanwhile, entered the draft early from Minnesota. He was the freshman of the year in the Big 10 and decided to jump into the draft and was taken 14th by the Utah Jazz. Life under Jerry Sloan clearly was not working. So he was off to to Toronto. He was a pleasant surprise and turned some heads in the pre-season in 06-07 his first year as a Raptor. He always seemed to have potential to be more than he was with the Raptors. But he often seemed to forget he was not number 1 option on offence at times. His numbers would suggest his career has taken steps forward at each stop along the way.
In his words he says, "I came into the league and nothing was really easy for me." Humphries continues on to say "Everything has just been kind of a process, and I improve along the way." Which he has and no more so than in his most recent stop in New Jersey. He has started more games this season for the Nets with 21 than he had in his entire NBA Career prior to that with just 8 starts (2 with Raptors). He has taken advantage of the struggles of Favors the 3rd overall pick of the Nets who you would have thought would be starting for Jersey. Favors has not started a game and is scoring 6.5 points per game and has averaged 5.5 rebounds. In comparison Humphries has 7.9 points per game with 9.1 rebounds and is shooting 53.8%, which are all career highs if he keeps it up, at his current pace.
It really seems like Humphries has found a basketball home with the Nets. Humphries said "It feels like it, but in the NBA you never know what happens. We just had a couple players traded off our team" in reference to the trade with the Lakers and Rockets. Sasha Vujacic would be making his debut with the Nets that night at the ACC. Joe Smith and Terrence Williams were off to L.A and Houston as part of the 3 team deal. Humphries added, " The NBA is just a constant cycle," which for a guy that has played on 4 teams in his 7th year in the NBA seems a logical way to think. But you hope for his sake he might have found a place where he can stay awhile.
Part of that cycle he refers to applies to coaches as well. His head coach in Toronto is now his assistant coach in New Jersey in the form of Sam Mitchell. Hump had these thoughts on being reunited with Mitchell, "Sam is a real good coach and he is part of what were doing here." He continues on to say " He always keeps it interesting." Has Sam actually mellowed at all from his days with the Raptors? Hump says "How People see him now versus than is a little different. But it is a different role." He continues on talking about the differences in Sam, "It's interesting, it is probably different for him going from being the head coach to an assistant but he is doing a great job with it." Still there might be some of the old Sam left and he has not changed entirely. When asked if there were flashes of "the old" Sam, Hump said the following, " Every once in awhile something will happen and I wait to see if he is going say something. Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't, because he is an assistant now and has different responsibilities."
It sure seemed like the same Sam earlier in a scrum with the Toronto media with perhaps one large exception. Sam use to always refer to how easy the media had it in comparison to him. Some work with NBA-TV in his time away from coaching has changed his opinion. On his brief stint in the media he had this to say, " It was fun, it was different. There is a lot of work that goes into it. It is not just showing up doing it. There is a lot of research that goes into it so you actually know what you are talking about. Numbers and stuff." Mitchell continued to say "It gave me a different impression of little you guys really work." Which got a laugh from everyone. He mentioned that he liked everything except for the Friday night shifts at NBA T.V, where he would end up leaving somewhere around 3 am. See Sam Mitchell this is not so easy!!! But I truly miss Sam and I regret that I never got to cover the team in his time here. I miss my Sam Mitchell laugh of the day. Which happened almost everyday that he was coaching the Raptors.
When I asked about Kris Humphries time in Toronto and what he takes away from it? Hump looks back on it in a positive way. " We went to playoffs twice up here. Just winning games and I played with some great team mates." He continues on to say " I Really enjoyed some of the people on the staff. Obviously I think I got better as a player. It is part of my journey." It is strange to me how Toronto has such a bad wrap with folks in the U.S, but if you talk to the players that have been here it is rare they will have anything negative to say about Toronto. They can't all be lying can they? I never bothered to ask if he got NBA League Pass when he was here. I also didn't ask about the whole Kim Kardashian stuff. I don't know if I have developed any rules to doing interviews. But if there is one I try to follow, it is that I won't ask anything that I wouldn't answer myself. If someone asked me about who I am dating my answer would be none of your damn business. We are a basketball blog if you want that kind of thing go check out TMZ Sports or something. Unless it impacts on a player in a negative way, I could care less, even than I really wouldn't want to go there. But as was stated Humphries is currently having the best season of his NBA Career. If Kim Kardashain has a blessed thing to do with that I could not tell you. But if she does, good for Kris Humphries. I wanted to tell him this but chickened out. He was my mom's favourite Raptor, not for how he played, she just though he was cute and adorable. I am not sure if people banging on the glass against him would agree. Hump was part of our journey too as Raptor fans, and at least for me will stand out from the crowd.