In just three games, Kris Humphries won the hearts of many Atlanta Hawks fans.
The 30-year-old big man was largely an afterthought over the first seven games of the 2016 postseason, but when Humphries made his debut against the Cleveland Cavaliers, he made the most of it. In those three contests against Cleveland, Humphries averaged 9.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in only 15.8 minutes, and for those who begged Mike Budenholzer to deploy his veteran reserve option more, it was an exercise in chest-pounding.
Of course, Kris Humphries isn't that good at this stage of his career, and there was a reason that Budenholzer did not turn to his services over that of Mike Muscala and Mike Scott for extended minutes. The veteran big man did not arrive in Atlanta until the beginning of March, after he was jettisoned from both Washington and Phoenix, but he did fill a niche for the Hawks. Humphries, by way of a career 10.9 rebounds per 36 minutes mark, has proven to be potent in the very area where Atlanta's big men struggle the most, and that certainly provided backup for the front office in picking him up off waivers to fill the 15th and final roster spot.
In 21 regular season games with the Hawks, Humphries was perfectly adequate. He posted a 14.9 PER that was aided by 55.5% true shooting, and he did that while making only 25.8% of his threes. In what is perhaps an indication that this system is very difficult for rebounding (hat-tip to Al Horford), Humphries averaged only 8.7 rebounds per 36 minutes during his tiny stretch in Atlanta, but he did showcase the type of attributes (hustle, rebounding) that fans love to see from big men off the bench.
There are certainly positives to the Kris Humphries experience, headlined by theoretical versatility offensively (he is, at best, a semi-capable jump shooter) and the aforementioned rebounding, but there are also negatives. His offensive game does not fit beautifully in this system and, as a defender, he is merely average without providing any of the rim protection or athleticism that is yearned for in today's game.
In terms of the future, Humphries will enter this summer as an unrestricted free agent, leaving many Hawks fans to point to him as something of a "priority" for the organization. This, in short, would be misplaced, as the team already has Paul Millsap, Tiago Splitter, Edy Tavares and Mike Muscala under contract, with a team option on Mike Scott and, of course, the impending decision on Al Horford. Without the benefit of knowing the future, there does not appear to be an obvious place for Humphries' talents, and given his age, it would probably be wise for the veteran to seek the highest level of pay and contract length, which is something that Atlanta almost certainly should not provide.
The Kris Humphries era, especially late in the game, was a pleasure at times, but fans probably shouldn't become too attached.