Perk’s Progression | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Perk’s Progression

Chuck - Red's Army January 7, 2010 Uncategorized 8 Comments on Perk’s Progression

By Tim (FD)

Remember when Greg Oden was supposed to be the next great Center for the Boston Celtics? In fact, at this time three years ago we would have given anything to replace Kendrick Perkins with Greg Oden.  Thankfully those wishes never came true.

While Oden is recovering from another season-ending injury, Kendrick Perkins is having the best season of his career.  This should come as no surprise to Celtics fans who have watched the 25 year-old center improve each year for the past 7 seasons.  

This year, you could make the argument that Perkins is the most efficient and most reliable Celtic.  Perk, who outside of Ray Allen is the only Celtic to start each of the team’s 33 games, currently sits comfortably atop the NBA in field goal percentage at 64.5%.  He is the leading rebounder on a team that features 4-time NBA Rebounding Champ Kevin Garnett.  He is also leading the team in blocks while averaging a career-high 12 ppg.  His personal fouls per 48 minutes continue to decrease each year, and he has fouled out of just 1 game this year, meaning that Doc can count on him every single night.

But perhaps the most evident sign that Perkins has become such a reliable presence comes from the trust that his teammates now show him.  Remember when a few years ago, Paul Pierce would hesitate to give Perk the ball even when he was wide open?  Most fans didn’t blame Pierce either, as Perk would consistently bring the ball down near his knees and either have it stripped or be called for traveling.  

Those days are long gone.  In fact, the Celtics now start most games by getting Perk a touch on the opening possession.  He rarely gets stripped, and has developed two go-to moves:  the jump hook, and the short fall-away jumper from the middle of the paint.  I used to cringe when #43 caught the ball in the post.  Now, I’m begging the Celtics to give him more touches.  

Another stat that Perk will likely set a career high in this season is technical fouls.  Over the past 5 years, Perkins’ technical fouls have risen steadily from 1 to 4 to 9 to 12 to the 22 that he is on pace for this year.  However, these techs are not entirely negative.  The rising totals simply correspond to the emotion with which Perk plays the game, which has also increased significantly each year.  Sure sometimes his emotions get the best of him, but the fact that he brings that intensity every single night is what makes him so great and so reliable.  

A couple of other people also deserve credit for Perk’s evolution.  First, Kevin Garnett has obviously had a tremendous influence on his career.  In addition to helping Perkins become a force on the defensive end, Garnett demands significant attention on the offensive end, making it easier for Perk to score in the paint.  

However, I believe that Clifford Ray is the real mastermind behind Perkins’ transformation from a flat-footed 19 year-old that was barely worth a roster spot, to an arguably all-star worthy center.  We saw Al Jefferson make a similar transformation under Ray’s tutelage.  Big Baby and Leon Powe also became scoring threats in the post as a result of working with Ray.  Although Clifford Ray doesn’t garner much media attention it is clear that he has the respect of Celtics big men, especially Perkins.  Whenever you see Ray in Perkin’s face as the Celtics are coming out of a timeout, you can count on Perk to play his most inspired basketball.  

So while you continue to read the negative headlines about all the technical fouls, just remember how far the big guy has come over these past 7 years.  From an after-thought in the deal that brought Marcus Banks to Boston on draft night in 2003, to an all-star deserving center, Perkins has made quite the progression.  Hopefully his progression doesn’t stop anytime soon.

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  • Jason

    And he’s accountable. Speaking about the Ray strip last night, Perk took the blame, saying he should have called timeout instead of forcing it into Ray at a bad spot on the court. When have you heard another NBA player step up with a comment like that? Never. No one else, even if they could take a pause from worshipping themselves for one instant, which seems like a feat in and of itself, would believe they did anything wrong, never mind admit it, never mind state it on the record for the media. Here’s 25-year-old Perk, a guy still forced to prove himself to the league in his 7th season, seeing veteran and future HOFer Ray Allen dogged by this play and he tells the media it was his fault. And he means it. He’s legitimately mad at himself for putting a teammate in a bad position. He strives to improve as opposed to most players who already think they’re perfect.
    This epitomizes why he’s progressed the way he has. He was a prep-to-NBAer. He could have come in entitled (Kwame?), thinking the game would be easy, that he wouldn’t have to try very hard, etc. He came in out of shape, woefully lacking in fundamental play on both ends. Did he flounder and fall out of the league? No. He was coachable and he worked hard. He’s personable off the court. He’s all business on the court. Credit Clifford Ray some, but the onus is still on the player. Perk’s the one who put in the work. Where’s Dwight’s low post game, huh?
    I can’t say enough about Perk. Beyond his defensive strides, beyond his offensive strides, he just does things right. He puts in the work, whether it’s learning to cut fouls, adding a low post move or just cutting weight. He takes his job seriously on and off the court. And bit-by-bit he’s taking on more leadership. When KG was out, he took defensive control. This year, he’s carrying more offensive load. He’s expecting more out of himself and you see from time to time that he will take the responsibility for getting others in line. He (a supposed role player) is taking the bullet for one of the Big 3.
    This guy’s awesome.

  • paul

    He’s a beast

  • Perk has grown in leaps and bounds. As corny as it may sound, marriage has been great for this kid. I have watched him transform from boy to man. The 1st major sign was earlier in the season when he spoke out about some of the issues facing the team. Granted, he still has his moments when he lets his anger get the best of him, but the point is, he’s making progress. Some of these guys, you see them act out time and time again, and they never change. That is the difference with Perk-he is really trying, and I know he really wants to get better and controlling his emotions. I have been fortunate to meet and talk w/Perk on a few occassions, and this guy is so humble and polite-especially given his age-more mature than most are at his age. I look forward to watching him get better and better…By the way, be sure to visit (this post says it was posted by BigMck, but the Twitter link says TimFD…??)

  • G4L

    Perk for president!!
    Good Article FD.
    There is no need for me to comment on Perk, I think we all know how I feel about Perk.

  • Al

    True dat – he’s not perfect but is turning into a heck of a player. I look forward to the day he is treated with more respect by the refs – too many bs moving pick calls.
    He still gets lit up by centres who can shoot – see Bogut/Kaman recently but as u say he’s accountable and so motivated to learn – wonder what sort of player he’ll be by 28…..

  • CelticPride

    One word for Perk: Sol-id.

  • I wrote this KWAPT…. sent it to Chuck and he posted it.
    I see Chuck was even good enough to update Perk’s field goal percentage after last night’s game.

  • He’s been the BEAST.
    The weight loss must be helping, not that he was overweight before. Particularly about the ‘bring the ball down to his knees’ of previous seasons. Now he’s nimble enough to just catch and dunk, catch and shoot, etc. Just getting off the ground that little bit faster, coupled with KG and Clifford’s tutoring, has made him a force.