Seemingly out of nowhere, New Jersey Nets power forward Kris Humphries has emerged as one of the most pleasant surprises in the NBA this season. Once a sparingly-used reserve, Humphries has elevated his game to the next level, posting double-doubles on a nightly basis while starting at the four-spot for the Nets.
With New Jersey set to play the NBA’s first-ever regular season games in London this coming Friday and Saturday against the Toronto Raptors, Humphries took time out of his busy schedule to chat about his experiences overseas with ESPNNewYork.com.
Here’s a recap of our conversation on Wednesday morning. We’ll be posting these on a daily basis.
ESPNNY: Kris, thanks again for taking the time out to speak with us. We know you guys landed in London Tuesday morning. How are you adjusting to the five-hour time change?
Kris Humphries: I think I’m making the adjustment. We got in around 2-3 p.m. London time (9-10 a.m. EST). And once we arrived at the hotel, I ended up falling asleep for 4-5 hours. I woke up, had dinner with a couple teammates and by that time it was time for bed again. But now I think I’m finally on their time schedule.
ESPNNY: Where did you go to dinner? And what teammates did you go with?
Kris Humphries: I went and grabbed a bite at at a local steakhouse with Stephen Graham, Johan Petro and Jordan Farmar. I don’t really know where I am around here, but it was down by the river. It was a good time and it was pretty good food. I really like how they don’t use a lot of seasoning in their food.
ESPNNY: You mentioned that you didn’t know where you were. Have you ever been to London before?
Kris Humphries: No, I haven’t. I’ve been out of the country before -- we went as a team to Russia and China this summer. I’ve been on other trips to Italy and Spain. I’ve just never been to London before.
ESPNNY: Now that you’re finally there, what are your initial impressions of the country itself?
Kris Humphries: It’s been great so far. Everything has ran really smooth. We got in and just had our first practice. It’s a great arena. Hopefully we can get a lot of fan support and build our brand. It’s been a good trip just from the short time I’ve been here. It’s a very clean city with some nice historical areas.
ESPNNY: Considering that it’s your first time in London, what is the one thing you’d like to see or do while you’re there?
Kris Humphries: I’d love to see Buckingham Palace, but I don’t know if I’ll end up doing that. I think that would be cool. I like history a little bit and just seeing some sights. I was too tired yesterday to take the optional tour. But I hope to get there before we leave.
ESPNNY: We know you haven’t been there that long, but do you and your teammates expect to get a lot of downtime or are you going to be bombarded with events?
Kris Humphries: It’s a mixture. We get enough downtime. Today we had breakfast, a team photo, practice, a media session and now we’re back here at the hotel. Later on, we have a Barclay event that we’re going to this afternoon [when the Nets move to Brooklyn in 2012-13, their billion-dollar arena will be called the Barclays Center]. Then we’ll go out for a team dinner. We get a bit of time to relax. But it’s still the regular season.
ESPNNY: A lot has been made of this event and the NBA being able to showcase itself overseas. However, as a player, is it tough to deal with considering the change of schedule right in the middle of your season?
Kris Humphries: I think whether we want to or not, we deal with it. I think everything has ran really smooth thus far. It’s going to be an adjustment over here playing our first game. But once we return [on Sunday], we will have three days to get re-adjusted back. It’s a privilege to be part of the first regular season game here. It’s exciting.
ESPNNY: Alright, let’s get off your London experience for a bit and talk some hoops. You and Deron Williams played together for a bit in Utah, and it seems like in the short time since he’s been here, you two have been able to re-establish the chemistry you may have had. Is that the case?
Kris Humphries: Yeah. For sure. I had a chance to play with him before. I think we’ve both developed a lot since then. He’s an all-star. He’s been a force for the last four years. He’s come here and been able to distribute the ball. He’s had a crazy amount of assists.
ESPNNY: No one has had more assists than Deron [an NBA record 47 of them] in their first three games with a new team. How surprised are you that he’s been able to have this type of success so quickly, despite not being acclimated with the team’s system?
Kris Humphries: I’m not surprised at all. I think that’s just him being a really good point guard. He’s been talking to us and trying to put us in a position to be successful. Personally, he does a great job telling me where I need to be on the court [Humphries has shot 51.4 percent from the floor and averaged 13.7 points and 10.7 rebounds since Williams’ arrival]. We’ve been running the pick and roll really well together. I didn’t really play a whole lot when we were teammates in Utah, but I got to know him well.
ESPNNY: Deron has been banged up a bit and missed practice on Wednesday. Do you foresee that being a problem looking ahead to Friday [if he does play] considering he hasn’t been here that long?
Kris Humphries: I think everyone benefits from practice, but he’s playing with a few injuries [a bruised bone in his right hand and a strained right wrist]. We haven’t had a true practice with him yet. However, he’s the kind of player that knows how to play the game. Even if he were playing with four strangers he’d figure out a way for everyone to play together and be successful.
ESPNNY: Kris, once again, we’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We’ll speak with you again on Thursday morning.
Kris Humphries: Sounds good. Take care.