I was reading about Dave Cowens in a couple of books on the Celtics and did some research on him. Maybe it is all the koolaid, but I see some parallels between Perk and Cowens. First, there is size. Perk is 6'10" and Cowens was 6'9", somewhat undersized for a center. Both make up for any lack of size with hustle and hard work. No one has a better work ethic than Perk and Cowens was a very hard worker as well.
Cowens came into the league after 4 years of college. Perk didn't have that background as he came into the league straight from high school. This past year was Perk's 4th season. He got a total of 32 minutes playing time his entire first year. His second season was only slightly better as he played in 60 games and averaged 9 mpg. The first half of his 3rd season, he didn't get much playing time as Blount was being showcased. Then, when he finally started to get more minutes after the trade, he dislocated his shoulder and had to sit out. This season he finally saw some regular playing time but was hampered by the plantar fasciitis that plagued him much of the season. In spite of constant pain in his foot he continued to play hard and play in pain to help his team. His first four years could be considered almost the equivalent of 4 years in college. So, this next season will be the telling one.
2 passages in the article on Cowens caught my attention:
"It was Cowens' consistency, work ethic, unselfishness, versatility and energy that established him as one of the most solid and respected centers in recent NBA history."
"An unlikely hero in a sport dominated by men of greater size and natural ability, the red-haired lefthander relied on hustle and heart to achieve NBA greatness. His determination helped to resurrect a Celtics dynasty presumed dead after the departure of legend Bill Russell."
Ok, Perk hasn't shown much consistency so far, but he hasn't had much chance. However, he has a work ethic second to none and he is very unselfish. I am fully convinced that Perk, like Cowens before him, will rely on hustle and heart to achieve NBA greatness.
Many don't see Perk becoming a dominant center and most have him pegged as a career back up. He has had to overcome a lot in his life to get here, both in his personal life and on the court. His first season, even though he didn't play much, he worked extremely hard to remake his body from an overweight high schooler to a very impressive NBA body. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. These pictures were taken over two years apart: one from a December 13, 2003 game in his first season, and the second from November 25, 2005. He is striking almost identical poses in the photographs with his hands on his hips and his elbows flared as he prepares to take a free throw. These pictures show the big difference in Perk as he worked very hard to remake his body. And keep in mind that he had already started working out and had come a ways already before the first picture was taken.
This off season, Perk plans on losing 20-30 lbs as he gained some weight while unable to work out because of his foot injury and build more muscle. This kid never stops trying to improve himself.
Many point to Perk's propensity to foul and say that he won't get anywhere because of it. Here is another quote from the Cowens' article
:"One of the things Cowens did too much in his rookie year with the Celtics was foul other players; he committed a league-high 350 infractions. (He would foul out of 90 games by the end of his career, a total that ranks among the top 20 of all time.)"
Perk has done a lot better in trying to limit his fouls this past season, although he still picks up a couple of ticky tack fouls per game. But some of his fouls that come from setting screens is because the help defense is so poor he gets hung out by it and gets called for the foul. Some fouls also come from a strong desire to win and going all out on the court to prevent the other team from scoring.
At 6-9 and 230 pounds, Cowens certainly was neither the biggest nor the most overpowering center in the league, particularly when compared to the likes of Lanier, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain. His versatility and energy were his greatest assets, along with a willingness to sacrifice his own scoring total -- and his body -- for the good of the team.
Cowens ran baseline to baseline, set picks, made heady passes, participated in full-court presses, blocked seemingly unblockable shots, dived into the crowd after loose balls, muscled through the paint for tip-ins, and generally made himself a nuisance to Celtics opponents."
I believe that after this season, the above could be used to describe Perk. Perk may not be the biggest or most overpowering center in the league, particularly compared to the likes of Shaq, and Yao Ming. His versatility and energy and hustle are his greatest assets, along with a willingness to sacrifice his own scoring total and his body for the good of the team.
Perk runs the floor well and sets picks and is one of the team's best outlet passers. He blocks seemingly unblockable shots, dives for loose balls, muscles in for tip ins, and generally intimidates the other team. Perkins says he watches himself on tape after every game, looking for ways he can improve. He checks to make sure he saw cutters, set good screens and was in proper position on set plays. He sees improvement in his overall game on a daily basis, and he points to his post moves, an improved jump hook and the way he runs the floor as the biggest strides in his development.
This summer he plans to add a 15 foot jumper to his game and work on his offense. He is staying in Boston to work with Al and Clifford Ray and I am convinced that next season will be his break out season. He is at the point in his career where Dave Cowens was in his rookie year and I believe that Perk's work ethic and his heart and hustle and his loyalty to this franchise are going to show themselves in a big way this season.
"I just try to keep improving and not let them down, because the Celtics drafted me. I feel like I owe them something," said Perkins.
I believe he will be paying them back in spades this season.
I see where your going with this. I grew up watching Cowens. Cowens was very basketball smart and polished coming out of school. The One thing that you must consider. Cowens had the "It" Factor. Similiar to Larry Bird, Magic. etc. Great things happened when Cowens was on the floor during crunch time. He always seemed to make the great play.