BOSTON - The last time Kris Humphries felt this neglected, it was somewhere around Day 50 of his marriage to Kim Kardashian.
Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh. After all, Humphries did play 5:42 in Wednesday night's win. Kardashian probably didn't give him that much time off of her show.
Okay, really harsh. But that 5:42 is 5:42 more than he played in Game 2, Game 3 and Game 4. Why is that, you ask? <sarcasm>Well, isn't it obvious? Humphries scored 8 points, grabbed 9 boards, and blocked 2 shots in 20:48 of playing time off the bench in the season opener. He was a plus-12 that night -- the same night Kelly Olynyk was a minus−19 and Vitor Faverani was a minus-17. So, clearly, it was Humphries that needed to be benched.</sarcasm>
The reason Humphries isn't playing isn't because he can't help the team. He can definitely help the team. He's much more than just an expiring contract (a.k.a. Theo Ratliff). Given the minutes, he's a double-double threat.
But what is Brad Stevens to do? He has three young big men -- Olynyk, Faverani and Jared Sullinger -- who look to have a future with this team. Every minute Humphries is on the floor is a minute that one of them isn't, a minute dedicated to the present and not to the future.
Take a look at this roster, folks - it isn't built for the present.
And taking a look at Brad Stevens' calendar, it doesn't appear that there's a Hump Day either.
So instead, Humphries sits . . . and sits . . . and sits. In fact, he and two other players brought over from Brooklyn in the trade (MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans) just barely have more playing time than the Celtics' three future first-round picks they also got in the deal. And those picks are still in college. Or in high school.
But while Humphries' former Nets teammate and current Celtics teammate Gerald Wallace tries to stay positive about his new role coming off the bench, it's Humphries who probably has a bigger beef.
He's in the final year of his contract -- which pays him $12 million this season -- he wants to prove he deserves another big deal. It doesn't appear he'll prove that on this team; not with the current roster, anyway. And as each game goes by, it becomes more apparent.
Stevens addressed the lack of playing time for Humphries prior to Wednesday's game.
"First of all, it's really a hard call," he said. "We talked about it the other day before we played Memphis. There's not much separation between those five guys (including Brandon Bass); there's really not. And I also don't think that's been our biggest issue. I think our front line's been good. I don't think it's been perfect, but it's been good. And I'm trying to figure out how we can play those five guys, because they're all five very productive players for us. It's just been a matter of numbers, it really has."
It would be too tank-a-licious to bench Bass, so that isn't happening. Sullinger will undoubtedly see his minutes rise as the season goes on and he works his way back into shape. Olynyk can also expect to play a serious role this season. Faverani is the only player in the bunch who could realistically see his minutes shrink (and that certainly happened Wednesday night, when he got just 6:04 of playing time) if he becomes ineffective.
But is that enough to get Humphries some burn? Only time will tell. But he seems to be doing the right things off the court. Since he joined the Celtics, his teammates and coaches have had nothing but positive things to say about him.
"One of the things I really respect about Kris is he is a pro," Stevens said before the game. "He doesn't play, [but] he'll keep himself in shape, he'll work out after. [Wednesday] he got a great workout in. Whatever happens [Wednesday], he's ready. The way he acts is exactly like a pro. So when his time is called, you have no doubt that he'll do well."
Humphries quietly got dressed in front of his locker after the game. Upon seeing reporters waiting to speak with him, he politely said he would be few minutes, and took his gear to another room.
He didn't come back. And really, you can't blame him.
What's that old saying? If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.