Yesterday, The Herald had a good article on Perk. I have read a lot of posts this season calling Perk a bust. I imagine it was these same people who were calling Big Al a bust last season. Sometimes, circumstances keep players from developing as quickly as we would like. It has been that way with Perk. In his first season, he played 35 minutes the entire season. His second seasonm, he played in only 60 games and averaged only 9 mpg over those 60 games. In spite of very little playing time, he improved and averaged 2.5 points and almost 3 rebounds in those 9 minutes. Again, his third season, he got very little playing time as Doc was showcasing Blount and Raef.
Right after the Blount trade, Doc started to give him 20+ mpg for the first time and he was producing and looking good. He was averaging over 5 points and almost 6 rebounds per game in those 19 mpg that he got in those few games after Blount was traded. Then he had the shoulder injury and shoulder surgery over the summer. He never really got to play healthy this season as he developed plantaar fasciitis and instead of sitting him and letting it heal as most teams would do, he has been playing through the pain almost the whole season, having to limit his minutes and having his lift and mobility hampered by the injury.
In spite of all this, his numbers are still higher than those of Jermaine O'Neal in his 1st 4 years and O'Neal didn't turn out so badly. It wasn't until O'Neal's 5th year that he started to be productive and he never had to deal with the injuries that have sidelined Perk in his first 4 years. I expect Perk to heal this summer and come back to camp ready to prove all his detractors wrong, just as Al has done. Perk has shown that he is a true Celtic by his work ethic and his willingness to do whatever the team needs, including ignoring the pain in his foot because his team needs him. As fans, we should be willing to give the kid a chance until he has a season to play healthy and show us what he can really do.
After watching the team play against New York, I truly believe that the future is bright. Pierce and Al are starting to gel and develop chemistry. Green is starting to show that he gets it. He played good defense, and showed that his offense can come from inside or outside. Al has been showing us all along that he is a legitimate low post threat and is a future All Star.
Rondo has shown that he has all the tools to be one of the top point guards in the league. All he needs is a consistent jumper and a little experience and he will be there. And with his work ethic, he will get the jumper sooner rather than later. Perk has been injured most of this season but as I said above, he is going to be a very, very good center when given the chance to play healthy. Even if we don't get the top pick in the draft, we will get a player who can help us right away. I am not even sure we need to trade for another veteran. Danny's trade record for veterans isn't exactly the best. But we have the assets to make a trade if we need to but I would love to see this group grow together as I think they can be a formidable team as they all develop.
This team as constituted is much better than their record. We have lost 179 player games to injuries, which is more than any other team in the NBA this season. Whenever we would get any type of momentum, there would be another key injury. We haven't had Wally or Ratliff all season. We haven't really had Perk all season. Pierce was out for a long stretch. Just as Tony Allen was hitting the top of his game, he went down and that just took the air out of this team. Chemistry is a very, very important commodity in this league. The Lakers a few years back with Kobe, Malone, Payton, and Shaq seemed a lock to be great but they weren't because they couldn't build any chemistry. The great teams today are ones that have been together and have built great chemistry. The Celtics are building that kind of chemistry now. The team is extremely close off the court and now we are seeing chemistry building on the court and as that continues to build this team is going to be something special. With a high draft pick and possibly another good veteran, this team is going to surprise a lot of people next season.
This brings me to Doc. I like Doc. He is a very nice guy and great in interviews and seems to be good with the players and just an all around likeable guy. That being said, he is not a good head coach. His rotations and substitutions are maddening. He never calls time outs quick enough to stop a run by the other team. He doesn't appreciate bigs who play with their backs to the basket and thus our bigs are always out too far from the basket to play the way they should. He starts them on the 3 point line and loves players who shoot 3s from there and never go inside. He loved Raef and loves Scal and keeps Powe on the bench. That drives me crazy. He tells guys they will be getting a lot of playing time because of the way they play and then sits them.
Powe played a great game in Utah and Doc said he would be getting a lot more playing time. He started the next game and played very well. Next game he gets 3 minutes and then it is back to DNP's. He puts Rondo in the starting lineup and he plays incredibly well. Then for no apparent reason, Rondo gets benched. Telfair comes into the Houston game and plays good defense and in Doc's words is the reason we won the game and doesn't even get off the bench the next game. He has done this with all of our young players at one time or another. It has to mess with their confidence.
He plays West for 40+ minutes instead of giving these two promising PG's time to build on their games and get better. He moves West back and forth between the Point and the 2 guard so many times that he doesn't know what role he is supposed to play. He doesn't shoot when he is at the 2 and often brings the ball up even when Rondo is in the game. He starts Scal at center and the 4 and plays him big minutes although he averages less than 2 rebounds a game. Scal has proved to be a good energy guy and is playing better this year than last, but he isn't a starting caliber player and won't be. In the meantime, players who should be getting the experience this season like Powe and Gomes are sitting.
All that being said, if Danny keeps Doc as our coach next season, it will be a big mistake. This team will not improve a great deal until they get a better in game coach who knows how to get the best out of his players instead of tearing down their confidence. We can get Oden or Durant and still won't make it to the next level because Doc is incapable of getting the best out of his players. But, with a new coach, a high draft pick, healthy players, and possibly another vet, this team will be a force to be reckoned with next season.