I know this seems like I'm dredging up an old story line. And I guess I sort of am. But I swear, I'm doing it for a good reason. Because like everything else in life, proper perspective is needed before rushing to judgement.
It's been more than a year since "it" happened. Last year, Danny Ainge clearly made a mis-calculation about the availability of Shaquille O'Neal and effectiveness of Jermaine O'Neal. I think we all know that and there's no need to dredge that up.
But now the Celtics are five games away from entering the playoffs as the fourth seed. Their lineup is now radically different, and better, because of various factors, including the Kendrick Perkins trade.
With Perkins, there's no KG at center, where his career has been resurrected. Even if we assume the Baby/Bass trade happens, Bass is coming off the bench. And where does Greg Stiemsma fit?
And it's Stiemsma's emergence that sparked this whole idea. Because Greg Stiemsma is a better player than Kendrick Perkins this season.
On defense, he's allowing .72 points per possession (ppp) according to Synergy Sports, good for 29th in the league. Perkins is allowing .80 ppp, ranking him 114. Stiemsma is averaging 1.56 blocks per game to Perk's 1.14. Since the All Star game, Stiemsma has blocked 57 shots while Perkins has blocked 27. Perkins is the better 1-on-1 defender (.49 ppp to .92 ppp) but Stiemsma is the better pick-and-roll defender (.38 to .7 ppp).
On offense, Stiemsma scores .95 ppp to Perk's .76. Neither scores much at all, but Stiemsma does have the one thing that Perk never had offensively: a 16-20 foot jumper that he can hit when he's open.
And one final stat just for the hell of it: Perkins has a league-leading 12 technical fouls (tied with DeMarcus Cousins). Stiemsa has 2. That stat is just for fun.
And I'm not trashing Perkins, so I really hope this doesn't come off as such. My point about all of this is simple: Greg Stiemsma, statistically speaking, has been a slightly better player than Kendrick Perkins this year. They're in different situations, of course, so the head to head comparison does have its flaws. But the worst you can say is they're equal.
I know the guys loved Perk. We all did. I'm always going to have a soft spot in my heart for him. But this Celtics team is better this season without him than it could have been with him.