|Can Kris Help Mavs Over The 'Hump'?|
|by Mike Fisher||Tue, Oct 13, 2009, 07:35 AM|
On the eve of Mavs training camp, Kris Humphries still hadn’t signed his apartment lease in Dallas. Mutual acquaintances tell me he was hesitant to do so because of all the trade rumors, all the suggestions that he was nothing but a “throw-in’’ in the Shawn Marion deal, all the vibes that felt like he didn’t fit into the Mavs plans.
“That’s the stuff you need to learn to block out,’’ Humphries told me. “There is a separation. Up there (Humphries motioned in the direction of the team’s AAC offices) it is a business. But down here (on the floor), it’s a game. … I decided that I wanted to make the best of whatever the situation was, and whatever opportunity I was given. I think I am doing that.’’
Once again on Sunday in Dallas’ 114-107 home win over Memphis, the 6-9 newcomer was a preseason stalwart. He had the stats (16 points and nine rebounds) and he had the “scraps,’’ that bullish nastiness that causes some Dallas observers to dream that the 24-year-old might become an effective combination of former Mavs Eddie Najera and Brandon Bass.
Something else Kris Humphries possesses: Confidence.
“I think there are a lot of things I do well,’’ he said. “I can score. I can rebound. I play defense. I don’t get out-worked. If you put me on the floor, I will be a plus on the floor.’’
Humphries demonstrated some of that ability Sunday during an end-of-the-first-half streak during which he scored all nine of the Mavs points as they took a 56-50 lead. The 16/9 effort comes after what Humphries did Monday in Washington, when he played backup center and contributed 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Come to think of it, he was solid in the other preseason game, too, the loss to Orlando in which he made 4-of-6 shots for 10 points with three rebounds.
Humphries three-game totals this fall: 13-of-25, 19 rebounds, five assists, two steals and 41 total points.
If he did indeed question himself there for just a moment. … it was for just a moment.
“One of the challenges is to not get caught up in the ‘what-if’s,’’ Humphries said. “Now that I’ve been around the league for a little bit, I understand more of the business side of it. ‘This guy is on the trading block’ or ‘that team might not like so-and-so’ … This is a good team, a winning team, so I’m trying to make the best of being a part of it.’’
Against Memphis, Humphries wasn’t alone in making standout contributions off the bench. NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry found his groove by scoring 23 points, including a pair of 3-pointers on consecutive possessions down the stretch to seal the deal for Dallas.
Also reuniting with his jumpshot, which recently arrived from the boat in Germany, was Dirk Nowitzki. He made his first four field-goal attempts, all of the mid-range variety, and kept up the pace to finish with 26. Second banana Shawn Marion pitched in with 15 points for Dallas. And Erick Dampier, trying to fight off the challenge of Drew Gooden (and maybe Humphries, too) was active enough to score 10 points as the starting center. Also notable: Quinton Ross took a turn as the starting 2-guard while the Mavs wait on the return of Josh Howard (ankle).
Toss in the unquestioned qualities of Jason Kidd and the X-factor nature of Josh Howard (who is spending camp rehabbing from ankle surgery) and there are a lot of roster-related reasons for optimism.
But the story of this camp – and maybe a wild-card answer to Dallas’ most lingering personnel question -- is Humphries, who continues to show no fear with his mid-range game and caused some fear in the opponent when he muscled through Zach Randolph for a resounding dunk. Humphries might be more athletic than some think – his dad played football at the University of Minnesota and Kris himself was a a competitive swimmer as a boy, with a national ranking not far behind Michael Phelps.
And yes, he’s got some Najera in him. And some Bass. And heck, as long as the Mavs are in search of help at center, maybe he’s got some of that in him, too.
“I’m flattered that you say that, because I watched Najera play in Dallas when he was younger, and of course I know what Bass meant to this team,’’ Humphries said politely … before dismissing the comparisons. “I’m a lot bigger than Najera. I do think I can do a lot of the things Bass did on the floor, but I try to have more (offensive) range. For me, I would ask that you write about me based on what you see, not on comparisons or some preconceived notions.
Good enough. He’s created a chance for himself this month, a chance to be himself this month, and he finally went ahead and signed that lease at a complex within walking distance of American Airlines Center. I asked him if in addition to a key to his apartment, he’d also received his very own key to the AAC gym.
“It’s a swipe card, actually,’’ he laughed. “And I’m going to use it.’’
written by jimmybgr8 , October 29, 2009
Did you see that Maccabi Haifa Israeli basketball game with that kid Jeremy Tyler who is a 6’11 260lb beast who left high school early to play pro basketball…? The Guy is going to be good….. I was watching the game on www.triangleinternet.tv and Jeremy Tyler didn’t do that well, he only had 1 point but you can tell he’s got a lot of talent.
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