It is no secret that I really love this kid. Anyone who has been around the Celtics boards knows that he is my favorite player and I expect big things from him. He, like Powe has gone through some tough times and has come out much tougher because of it. Kendrick Perkins was born on November 10, 1984 in Nederland, Texas. 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 towardbasketball instead. During his high school career at Clifton J. Ozen High School in Beaumont, Texas, Perkins led his team to four consecutive district championships and one state championship. He averaged 27.5 points, 16.4 rebounds and 7.8 blocked shots as a Senior in the 2002-2003 season. He helped Ozen to a 33-1 record, with the only loss being a 66-54 setback to Fort Worth Dunbar in the state 4A championship game. He was selected to the McDonald's All-American game for high-school players. It was in this game that he first injured his shoulder. In spite of the dislocated shoulder, he still wanted to finish the game.
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. 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 in the deal that sent Dahntay Jones to the Grizzlies.
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 minutes per game 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. In his third season in the league, he still was given very little playing time and had several DNP's until the Mark Blount trade midway through the season. He finally was given more minutes and averaged 19 mpg. But he still took a back seat to Raef LaFrenz as far as playing time. He was coming on strong and was reaching double figures in rebounds almost every game when he dislocated his shoulder once again and had to sit out while it healed. Over the summer he dislocated his shoulder a third time while working out with Clifford Ray and underwent surgery to avoid further problems with it. The shoulder healed well and he showed no problems from it last season. To show his desire to play, he was sneaking onto the court to play before he was formally cleared.
This past season, his 4th in the league, he got off to a good start, but then was slowed by plantar fasciitis in his left foot. In spite of being in pain the entire season, he only missed 10 games because he knew the team needed him. He wasn't able to practice because he had to rest his foot as much as possible. The pain in his foot kept him from being able to jump and also affected his lateral movement. Toward the end of the season he started feeling a little better and was rebounding very well but still was not in shape because of the injury.
Perk took 2 days off at the end of the season and then was right back in the gym working on his conditioning and his game. He worked with Tom Thibodeau and Clifford Ray this off season, completely healthy for the first time since his rookie season and pushed himself to the limit to improve his game and his conditioning for this season. He has also been learning from his new teammate, Kevin Garnett as well. I expect all this hard work to pay off in a break out season for Perk this year. Early reports from Rome say that Perk is playing very well.
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, shot blocker, and defender. He gives the Celtics something they haven't had in many years, and that is an enforcer. I truly believe that Perk can establish himself as one of the premier centers in the league.