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Grading Kris Humphries' play for 2014-15 season

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Grading Kris Humphries' play for 2014-15 season

A lot changed for Kris Humphries after he injured his left groin late in the season and it cost him 17 games. The Wizards, who were making a postseason push, had found something during his absence with Drew Gooden and he became an after-thought. The Wizards made a run into the second round of the playoffs, sweeping the Toronto Raptors with Humphries only getting garbage time once. He didn't play vs. the Atlanta Hawks in part because Humphries was considered a bad matchup there, too.

The stats: 8.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 47.3% shooting.

The improvements: The mid-range jumper continued to be a strength in his game as well as rebounding. While Nene had a mid-range game with better ability to play with his back to the basket at power forward, Humphries' offense came off face-up jump shots and putbacks. He often was left wide open at the elbows as teams we willing to live with him shooting. 

MORE WIZARDS: GRADING BRADLEY BEAL'S 2014-15 SEASON

The next step: Three-point shooting. It seems unlikely that Humphries will ever become a knockdown artist beyond the arc, but he has to at least keep a defense honest. It'll not just add another dimension to his game but extend his career given how the NBA has grown more perimeter-oriented with bigs.

2014-15 grade: B-.

2015-16 outlook: This is hard to figure. Humphries' rebounding should keep him from falling completely out of the rotation for long stretches, but a lot will depend on how this roster is remade. If the Wizards stock it with more shooters, Humphries can hold onto his niche. Or the Wizards could go in an entirely different direction which would keep Humphries mostly on the bench (if he can't extend his range) or used as a trade chip. 

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Chris Paul is reportedly recruiting LeBron James to the Rockets, which would change East dramatically

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Chris Paul is reportedly recruiting LeBron James to the Rockets, which would change East dramatically

Next to actually signing LeBron James himself, there is another scenario involving the NBA's best player that should sound great to Eastern Conference teams. That is if James decides to leave the conference altogether for a team in the West, and it sounds like Chris Paul is trying to make that dream come true.

Paul, according to ESPN, is actively recruiting James to join the Houston Rockets. The Rockets won an NBA-best 65 games in the 2017-18 season and fell one win short of reaching the NBA Finals.

Here is what Adrian Wojnarowski said as transcribed by Pro Basketball Talk:

Chris is going to return there. And listen, right now, Chris Paul’s focus isn’t so much on his own free agency. He’s trying to recruit LeBron James to Houston, and somebody close to him said to me he is as focused on recruiting LeBron as anything he’s done in this league. He wants to find a way.

There's no doubt Houston would give James an opportunity to contend and maybe even win championships. They were up 3-2 on the Warriors in the conference finals before losing the final two games. Paul missed the last two games of the series due to injury.

If the Rockets were that close without James, adding him would likely push them over the hump. Even with the Warriors being as good as they are, the Rockets would be a super team on a level rarely seen in NBA history. James and Rockets guard James Harden are the two frontrunners for MVP. Then there's Paul, a perennial All-NBA guard who is a surefire Hall of Famer once his playing days are over.

If James went West, that would break the streak of his teams winning the Eastern Conference playoff bracket eight years in a row. The conference would be more wide open than it has been in nearly a decade, giving teams like the Sixers, Celtics, Raptors, Wizards and others a better shot at reaching the Finals.

One alternative is James leaving Cleveland to form another titan within the East. That could happen if he goes to Philly or Boston or somewhere else with some pieces already in place. It's conceivable that James stays in the East and does so with a team that is much better than the Cavs squad he led to the Finals this past season.

On the face of it, James would probably be smart to not go to Houston. As good as the Rockets are and as stacked as they would be if he joined them, he would then subject himself to battling the Warriors in the conference finals or earlier. If winning is his No. 1 goal, he is better off continuing to dominate the East and focus on improving his chances of beating the Warriors once he sees them in the Finals.

Still, Paul can dream. And if James does go West, no one in the East will complain.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Full 2018 NBA Draft preview for Wizards fans, including an interview with Robert Williams

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Full 2018 NBA Draft preview for Wizards fans, including an interview with Robert Williams

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller talked all things NBA Draft.

They gave their picks for the best options for the Wizards, the safest and riskiest prospects, plus what they expect the team to do. Texas A&M big man Robert Williams also joined the show in a 1-on-1 interview.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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