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Kris Humphries praises Celtics coach Brad Stevens

Kris Humphries [1]

Kris Humphries

After a disappointing 25-win campaign, few Celtics [2] changed uniforms, but the only outgoing veteran to play all of last season in Boston gave coach Brad Stevens [3] high marks, and that should sit well with the organization.

In a conference call introducing the new Wizards forward to the media in Washington, D.C., Kris Humphries lauded the first-year Celtics [2] coach for helping him improve his game 10 years into his NBA career.

“€œI talked to Brad all the time, and it’€™s just one of those things where, ‘€˜Man, you got me a lot better,'”€ Humphries told reporters Wednesday [4]. “Handling the ball, making plays, things like that. Shooting. I’€™m grateful for that. I’€™m grateful for the opportunity to keep playing in a lot of situations like the one I was in.”

Arriving early to training camp last summer, Humphries won over skeptics inside the Celtics [2] organization and out by taking younger players under his wing, keeping quiet early in the season despite limited minutes and eventually earning a spot in the starting lineup through continued effort. Ultimately, his numbers per 36 minutes (15.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.6 bpg, 55.2 TS%, 18.2 PER) ranked among the best of his career.

His patience during a trying year was commendable, and while another former Celtic will receive much of the applause when the Wizards make their only trip to Boston this season on Dec. 7, a tip of the cap should be reserved for Humphries, too. The 29-year-old publicly remained open to returning to the Celtics [5] this summer, but ultimately chose a chance to contend for an Eastern Conference crown with the Wizards, and who can blame him?

“€œWhen you’€™re on a team like [Washington], which I feel blessed to be in this situation, everything you do is important and you feel important,”€ Humphries added in the conference call. “Whatever you do on a winning team is magnified. You feel better doing stuff when you’€™re working towards something. It’€™s a little tougher when you’€™re playing the right way, making sacrifices, and your team doesn’€™t have a chance to make the playoffs.”

His sign-and-trade with the Wizards also gave the Celtics a $4.3 million trade exception, so a Humphries era that began in Boston with one inopportune photo [6] wasn’t so bad after all. As for the Keith Bogans experience …