You just have to love Perk. First there was his work ethic that helped to make him into a well sculpted muscular center from a slightly puffy high school kid. He works harder than just about anyone else in the league. When he was fouling too much he watched film until he pinpointed what he was doing wrong.
He has been playing hurt and never wants to come off the floor. He hasn't been able to practice because of the pain in his foot but even then, he tried to sneak out onto the practice floor.
What endears him to me the most is his desire to play hard and to play defense. Perk commits to doing the dirty work and playing defense every game. Granted, he hasn't been as effective since his plantar fasciitis started, but he still has been a factor inside, blocking shots and making players change others.
Now, he has become a vocal leader, calling out his teammates on more than one occasion. Last year, he got in Pierce's face in a game and told him to pick it up. Amazingly, Pierce responded. Now, once again, Perk is exhorting his teammates to pick it up. From this morning's Globe,
"It seems like we've got too many chiefs, not enough Indians," said Perkins. "That's the best way I can put it. Everybody with their own agenda, instead of sticking with the team and winning.
"You've got to do your role to help the team win and, in the end, everybody gets a piece of the pie. You can't really go on how many shot attempts you get or what your stats look like because you can't win like that. Like Shaq [O'Neal] said, his best games are when he starts forgetting about the stats. Lose yourself in the team and we win games. Let the game come to you. That's including me, the team as a whole.
"I ain't trying to single anybody out. It's everybody as a team. Everybody needs to go home, watch film, and see where they messed up. I'm not pointing a finger at who did this or what somebody else did wrong. Just go watch yourself and see what you did wrong. That's where we get better. As long as we keep pointing the finger, being sensitive every time coach says something to us, we can't win."
That sounds like a lot of wisdom from a young player. Pierce would do well to listen to him, as would the rest of the team. It is a team game. Everyone must commit to playing defense. Everyone must commit to following the game plan. One person who doesn't play hard or doesn't commit to defense will throw everyone off.
Let's hope everyone listens to Perk and that he continues to try to get everyone on the same page and playing hard. We need Perk healthy and so let's hope Doc gives him some rest so he can be effective again. In the meantime, he is providing the leadership that this team so desperately needs.
I share your fondness of Perkins. He is just what we need, someone who isn't looking for shots and focuses on what the team needs - in his case rebounding and defense.
I was wondering after his slow start if something was physically wrong. Hopefully, this condition won't linger -- I've heard that it can take a long time to heal. Tim Duncan, I undertand, dealt with it himself.