The odd man out yet again in his second season for the Kentucky Wildcats, Isaac Humphries
struggled to earn consistent rotation minutes in the front court while playing alongside the likes of Skal Labissiere
, Marcus Lee
, Bam Adebayo
and others. After averaging just over eight minutes per game this season
, the lowest among prospects in our top 100, Humphries made the decision to forego his final two years of eligibility and pursue a professional career .
Measured at 7'0 at the 2016 Kentucky team combine, Humphries has good height for a big man, to go along with a strong 260 pound frame, but his 7'0 wingspan and 8'11 standing reach are closer to those of a power forward than an NBA center ideally. His lack of length and reach hurts his ability to protect the rim from the center position and he does not make up for that with tremendous athleticism to compensate, often struggling with the quickness of more dynamic collegiate big men. His best case to carve out a role looks to be to trim down his frame and try to improve his explosiveness while increasing his ability to move laterally in space to be able to play away from the rim.
While Humphries didn't display a high level of athleticism the past two seasons, he was able to hold his own at times while playing for the Australian national team in the past, and he has a solid motor, working hard to making an impact in his limited minutes.
With such a small sample of data to pull from over the past two seasons, it's hard to glean much information from his statistical profile. He's had some drastic swings in his efficiency numbers year over year because he is working with such a small sample. He saw his two point field goal percentage increase from 39% to 51% (even still, the second lowest among centers in our top 100
) but still only took 2.3 shots per game. Therefore, it's necessary to rely more on his game film to determine what type of Humphries' potential as a prospect.
He made his biggest impact as a rebounder, pulling down 13.5 rebounds per 40 minutes, 6.5 of which were on the offensive side. Although he is confined to rebounding inside a small area with his average quickness and explosiveness, he has soft hands to corral loose balls. Even if he can't get to the glass himself, he can open up space for his teammates to track down the rebound as he has the strength to hold his opponent off, which will be a valuable role for him to fill at the next level.
His soft hands helped him make some tough catches around the rim which led to easy shots from close range. While he saw an uptick in his conversion rate around the rim to 63% on 46 attempts according to Synergy Sports Technology, he didn't always display a high level of touch as he saw many of misses clang wildly off the rim. Lacking the explosiveness to play above the rim in traffic at this point in his career, he will need to develop a higher skill-level off the backboard to be able to finish at the next level.
Humphries is most comfortable inside the paint, with the majority of his offensive possessions coming from post-ups according to Synergy Sports Technology. He will certainly have to expand his game at the pro level as he is not a dominant post player but he can use his strength to back down his man under the rim. Most of his moves end up with a decent look at the rim off of a right handed hook shot ,but he lacks a counter move to keep the defense guessing and it will be difficult to score at the next level with his back to the basket without a more well-rounded arsenal of moves.
There were moments when it looked like the game was moving too fast for Humphries, although this was likely heavily influenced by his lack of minutes, and it will be interesting to monitor how his feel for the game develops as he matures. He was a bit of a black hole at times, as he recorded a 4.8% assist rate and a 13.9% turnover rate, proving to be a little erratic with the ball and not confident enough to make quick decisions. After making these turnovers, he had a tendency to hang his head and take himself out of the next play, and he will have to improve his mental toughness to stay composed and not compound his mistakes.
This lack of poise was also manifested in his jump shot, where he made just 25% (4-12) of his attempts logged by Synergy Sports Technology. He showed flashes of potential from the mid-range as he displayed some confidence in catch and shoot opportunities from a stand still position, but struggled when rushed and was often too anxious to get the ball out of his hand which hurt his mechanics. He's seen just average success from the free throw line either (65% on 40 attempts in his career) but his form is better and provides hope that he can develop this part of game. He showed some promise driving at the youth level and having the game slow down while being able to create from the mid-range will begin to unlock his potential to play outside of the paint, something he'll certainly need to do to maximize his potential.
Defensively, Humphries is best when defending his man in the post as he can use his strong frame to wall off and does a good job of contesting despite his average reach. He struggles when forced to move in space as he doesn't get in good defensive position and has heavy feet, allowing quicker big men to easily drive by or pivot past him. He is slow to close out on the perimeter and doesn't rotate quick enough to help his teammates and protect the rim. This lack of foot speed makes him foul prone as he committed nearly eight fouls per 40 minutes in his two seasons. It looks like he has a ways to go before he can provide consistent value on this end, but he does work hard defensively, especially on the glass.
After reclassifying to the class of 2015, Humphries just turned 19 in January and is one of the youngest players in our top 100, younger than several freshman. It was going to be hard for Humphries to get minutes in his junior season with Kentucky bringing in frontcourt players P.J. Washington
and Nick Richards
while retaining Tai Wynyard
and Sacha Killeya-Jones
. Therefore, it's easier to understand Humphries deciding to move on and start his professional career as he has several options available to him. Humphries will certainly have opportunities at a two-way contract or D-League affiliate spot should that interest him. If not, being an Australian citizen will give him an excellent chance at finding a lucrative contract back home to expand his game in hopes of working his way back to the States one day. He isn't really what NBA teams are looking for in a big man these days, as he doesn't have the ability to protect the rim, switch on pick and rolls, make shots from the perimeter, finish at a high level, or playmake for others, certainly not in an incredibly crowded draft at his position, but with a few years of seasoning, could possibly find a way to improve in these areas down the road.