As a long-time NBA veteran, Kris Humphries likely knew the exact distance between the 3-point arc and the basket. With all the extra running due to his new perimeter-shooting role, he certainly does now.
Two games into the preseason and the Wizards are showing they are indeed different offensively compared to the previous regular season. For Humphries, now entering his 11th NBA campaign, the changes are seismic compared to his entire career.
"This is a different game for me," Humphries stated this week.
The obvious difference involves the 3-point shot, a non-factor in his game truly until this past offseason. Playing a traditional power forward role, Humphries attempted only 26 shots from beyond the arc for his career. That included seven last season. He missed them all. The last make came during his 2004-05 rookie season.
Through two preseason games, Humphries leads the Wizards with 10 attempts. Yes, change is coming.
"That's what they want to do here. You kind of have to adapt to help your team," Humphries said following Tuesday's preseason opener. "I just wish I would have started shooting 3's earlier. This is really like the first summer where I was like I'm going to work on my 3-point shooting. Before you might shoot a few corner 3's or something in a workout. This year I was like, I'm going to work on it."
Yet the actual deep shot isn't the only distinction in the 6-foot-9 forward's game this season. Anybody playing the 4-spot for Washington this season won't simply be camped out in the lane for offensive rebounds or interior passes. The spread-the-floor philosophy deployed during last season's playoff run is the primary staple now.
"It's different, especially for me," Humphries said. "I haven't really played on the wing, like at the 3-point line to where I'm going to try to get an offensive rebound and then running back and then running again. It's adding that extra 23'9" of running in there. It doesn't seem like a lot but it catches up to you. It' early on. I've just got a little extra shooting and conditioning -- I've got to be in better shape if I'm going to play this way."
Humphries went 2 of 4 on 3's in Tuesday's blowout win over the Philadelphia 76ers, but struggled in Friday's loss to the New York Knicks, missing five of six attempts.
"I'm still getting used to things," Humphries said at Saturday's practice. Those things, Humphries acknowledged, include the team's desire for more up-tempo offense, shot selection and the new challenge defensively.
"We're just trying to play at that tempo and not let our defense slide," Humphries said. "Naturally I think when it's more free-flowing, there becomes less attention to detail. You have to stay more focused. Defensive assignments and really locking in."
Another early change involves the start of games in that so far, Humphries has been on the court for them while Nene, the primary power forward starter last season, came of the bench. Receiving minutes with point guard John Wall should help with the perimeter adjustment.
"It's a transition thing," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said Saturday. "We've got to learn how to play this way. We know how to play physical basketball. ...We've got to continue getting guys comfortable in roles that are different than they are accustomed to."