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Atlanta Hawks season review: Kris Humphries

Taking a look back at the contributions of Kris Humphries for the 2016-2017 season.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

When Kris Humphries agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract on July 11, it was a bit of a surprise. After all, the Atlanta Hawks already had Dwight Howard, Mike Muscala and Tiago Splitter on the roster and, even after a 21-game sample that the Hawks seemingly valued the previous season, the consensus certainly was not that Humphries was likely to return.

From there, though, Humphries’ role became more visible as Splitter failed to regain full health and, at times throughout the season, the 32-year-old big man was a member of Atlanta’s rotation. That faded in the postseason with the emergence of Mike Muscala, the acquisition of Ersan Ilyasova and more small-ball but Humphries put together a very Humphries-like season.

The big man posted exactly the same true shooting percentage (51.4 percent) as his career rate and rebounded the ball extremely well. It should be noted that Humphries’ rebound rate declined to 16.4 percent (which should be expected at his age) but it remains his best trait on a basketball floor by a considerable margin.

Elsewhere on offense, Humphries turned in the best jump-shooting season of his career, posting a 35 percent clip from three. Granted, it was only 54 attempts but this could represent a nice development moving forward in his twilight NBA years and teams could be impressed by that ability, even with the caveat that it was his first full season above 31 percent from deep.

Defensively, Humphries remains a below-average player with the exception of his ability to close possessions through rebounding. At this point, he is a pure center given the way the NBA has shifted positionally and, without the ability to protect the rim at a high level, it is difficult to build around that. Playing alongside a player like, ahem, Paul Millsap would be helpful for Humphries in that way but not every team can boast a do-everything player in that mold defensively.

Kris Humphries earned $4 million for the 2016-2017 season and that wasn’t a catastrophe in any way. He was presumably signed as a “break in case of emergency” option and, while he probably played a bit too much early in the season, Humphries provided that insurance. Moving forward, it would (again) be a surprise if the Hawks elected to prioritize him but Mike Budenholzer appears to be a fan of Humphries’ work and there might be a spot (or two) at the end of the bench should he be willing to take a modest salary.

The Kris Humphries love affair from the stretch run of the 2015-2016 season is over but he remains an NBA player that can be used somewhat effectively in spot duty under the right pretense.