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Kris Humphries is the Wizards' Secret Weapon

Over the All Star break we're ranking the trade values of all 14 Wizards from bottom to top. This post takes a look at #6 on the list, Kris Humphries.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

We're going to go out on a limb and assume there are more people in the world that don't like Kris Humphries than people who do. We probably don't need to delve into specifics, but it's also probably safe to assume that a significant majority of the people who don't like Kris Humphries aren't basketball fans and haven't had to root for him on their basketball team.

Once he's on your team, you find that...he's not that bad to root for actually. He does a lot of things that you want to see out of a big man: He moves well, he isn't a defensive liability and he gives you great effort. From time to time, he might go a little too hard chasing after rebounds, and he's not going to wow you with his low-post scoring moves, but all in all, if he's your first big man coming off the bench like he is in Washington, you're in a pretty good spot.

Now that he's in Washington, his play has made him a fan-favorite for many Wizards fans, including Washington Post columnist Clinton Yates, who calls Kris Humphries "Secret Weapon" for reasons he's talked about on Rembert Explains as well as on Twitter:

Still, we wanted to learn more about why he's gone above and beyond to show his appreciation for Kris Humphries. So we asked if he would be willing to take some time out of his busy schedule discussing important issues in the D.C. area to talk about THE most important thing in the D.C. area. Thankfully, he obliged.

What was your initial reaction when you heard the Wizards were opting to sign Kris Humphries instead of bringing back Trevor Booker?

Yates: I thought it was a tremendous move. The guy has always been a solid inside player and I thought his ceiling, albeit modest, was higher than Booker's.

What is it about Kris Humphries' game that you enjoy and why do you think he's the Wizards' Secret Weapon?

Yates: He's just a good off the ball player. It's not necessarily always about blocks, steals or dunks. He doesn't take a lot of defensive gambles and thus is typically in good position to make a play. He's the Secret Weapon because of that, and he is literally a non-option on offense. Until he scores. Which is just icing on the cake.

What would you tell someone who just knows about Kris Humphries through the tabloids to convince them he's a player worth rooting for?

Yates: Watch him play basketball. Pretty simple.

For those of us who have watched Humphries play, then you've seen how much there is to like already. From time to time the Wizards wind up with great hustle players who can clean the glass but don't have any other NBA-level skills. For once , it's nice to have a Wizards who can rebound like he does, and also do other basketball things, like shoot a jump shot, and play respectable defense.

But how has he done replacing Trevor Booker? In terms of individual statistics, it's been a wash. Their advanced metrics, PER and Win Shares in particular, are almost identical. Last year, Booker shot a little better from the field, but Kris Humphries is turning the ball over less this year, and he's grabbing more rebounds.

But there is one area where Kris Humphries' value shines in comparison to Booker's. As we all know, backing up Nene comes with the expectation that you'll spend significant time filling in for him when his foot acts up. Last year, Booker kept the offense humming right along in his absence, but couldn't come close to mirroring Nene's presence on the other end. This year, when Kris Humphries has filled in, it's been a bit of a different story. Here's a comparison of how the Wizards performed last season when Booker shared the floor with Wall, Beal and Gortat and how they've performed when Humphries has played alongside Wall, Beal and Gortat.

Lineup Offensive Rating Defensive Rating Net
2013-14 (Wall, Beal, Booker, Gortat) 104.1 103.9 +0.2
2014-15 (Wall, Beal, Humphries, Gortat) 100.8 97.3 +3.5

Obviously, the Pierce/Ariza swap weighs on these numbers as well, but it would be hard to make a convincing argument the Humphries isn't playing a part in why the Wizards' defense has been better this season. The team desperately needed someone who could come in and at least maintain some of Nene's defensive value, and they found exactly what they were looking for with the Secret Weapon.