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Kris Humphries just needed a change of scenery

10.08.13 at 5:38 pm ET
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An excerpt from a column titled, “Reality check: In defense of Kris Humphries.”

As a joke, Keith Bogans placed a picture of the Rajon Rondo-Kris Humphries brawl in the practice facility locker room, asking who’€™d win the fight, and the results were split. Danny Ainge praised the 10-year NBA veteran’€™s early arrival ‘€œin great shape,’€ the younger players credited his leadership during pre-camp workouts, the vets applauded his physicality during practice and Brad Stevens awarded him the starting center spot.

And despite being forced out of position, Humphries said all the right things, setting a positive tone for what will surely become a difficult juggling act for the coach, who will ask a lot of his players to do the same because of the redundancy on his roster.

‘€œWhatever helps this team,’€ said Humphries. ‘€œI trust the coaches, so I’€™ve just got to do what I’€™m asked to do. I’€™m obviously more naturally a 4, but I’€™m willing to play 5.’€

In that role, Humphries totaled 11 points (4-8 FG) and four rebounds in his 23:46, and he wasn’€™t satisfied. ‘€œI wasn’€™t really happy with the way I rebounded,’€ he said.

The rebounds will come. Humphries averaged double-digit boards per 36 minutes in each of his last seven seasons. A more encouraging development? He shot 4-of-5 between 15-19 feet. To put that in perspective, Humphries made 21 field goals from that range all of last season, shooting just 36.2 percent on those long 2′€™s in 2012-13.

Meanwhile, the first thing out of Humphries’€™ mouth upon meeting Stevens was, ‘€œHey, let’€™s run’€ — a departure from a Nets system that didn’€™t maximize his skills last season — and Monday’€™s performance in a 97-89 loss to the Raptors didn’€™t cut it, so he dragged Jeff Green with him to run postgame sprints on a couple treadmills.

‘€œWe want to play at a faster pace,’€ said Humphries, still dripping in sweat from the workout. ‘€œJeff and I actually did a little bit of extra conditioning after the game, just to kind of get us going a little bit more, so we can build to the start of the season.’€

To read the column in full, click here. And check out the rest of the coverage from Monday night’s game.

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