August 11, 2006 One of the hardest positions to fill is the Center position. I believe that the Celtics have filled it quite well with Perk. By taking him out of high school and having a little patience while he develops, I believe that we will have a dominant center for years to come.
It is no secret that I really love this kid. He, like Powe has gone through some tough times and has come out much tougher because of it.
His mother died when Perk was only 5 years old. His dad was rarely around which still hurts him. His grandparents raised him and were there to give advice, direction and comfort. But his grandparents didn't know much about basketball except that Kendrick seemed to have an aptitude for the game.
His high school coach at Ozen High School, Andre Bouette, became his mentor as far as making basketball decisions and became the father figure he didn't have in his life. At first, Kendrick wanted to play football but Bouette wisely pointed him toward basketball instead.
He chose to forego college and enter the NBA draft right out of high school after leading his team to a 96 and 3 record over his final 3 years in high school. Senior (2002-03): He averaged 27.5 points, 16.4 rebounds and 7.8 blocked shots in his senior year and he helped Ozen to a 33-1 record. He was named All State in all three seasons. He was the 27th pick in the 2003 draft, chosen by the Memphis Grizzlies and subsequently traded to the Celtics.
His profile on NBAdraft.net says this about him: "Unlike many young players his age, Perkins is not infatuated with playing on the perimeter. He plays strictly a power game and is capable of dominating the low post ... Fundamentally he has added various offensive moves, from a drop step, to an up-and-under, and even the rarely utilized jump hook which he can shoot over most defenders ... Perkins is very mobile around the lane and he has no problem running on the break despite his size ... Has an excellent pair of hands that can catch most passes thrown into the post. Once there, his soft touch around the basket allows him to convert easily ... Does a good job of drawing contact to bait his defender into fouling . Has shown decent passing skills when double teams occur ... Physically he has an NBA build that has yet to fill out ... An above average rebounder who uses his body to gain good position under the glass ... Possesses solid footwork on defense enabling him to stay in front of most defenders ... Each year he has developed in some area of his game ... Work ethic remains strong despite all the hype."
In Perk's first year, he played very little, averaging only 3 minutes per game and racking up 72 DNP's. In spite of this, he worked very hard that year to remake his body and build his conditioning. His second year wasn't much better. He averaged 9 mpg in 60 games. But he continued to work on his body and conditioning and when he got a chance to play, he showed a lot of promise. Last year, his third in the league, he still was given very little playing time and had several DNP's until the Mark Blount trade. He finally was given more minutes and averaged 19 mpg. But he still took a back seat to Raef as far as playing time. He was coming on strong when he dislocated his shoulder and had to sit out while it healed. Over the summer he once again dislocated his shoulder while working out with Clifford Ray and underwent surgery to avoid further problems with it. All reports have been positive and he has been healing well and will definitely be ready for training camp.
Perk has made himself into one of the toughest players on the Celtics and in the league. His work ethic is second to none and each year he improves his game in some areas. Center is one of the toughest positions to fill and the Celtics have filled this position with a very tough rebounder and shot blocker. He gives the Celtics something they haven't had in many years, and that is an enforcer. With more playing time and some tutelage from Clifford Ray, I believe that Perk can establish himself as one of the premier centers in the league.
Well, you know where I stand. I don't think he will be a dominant Center, but I do think he'll be a very solid one. I can see him being a top 10 rebounder and shot blocker. If he can stay out of foul trouble, its almost certain he'll reach that level. But if foul trouble limits his playing time, that'll draw him down some.
Really good article, FL. If I haven't told you so, I think you are a very gifted writer. Your thoughts and words flow very nicely and you articulate your ideas very well. I enjoy reading all your articles.