For 4 years now, I have been telling everyone who would listen to me that Perk is going to be a great center. I love this guy and his attitude and his toughness and his work ethic. I have been saying since his first season when I saw how hard he worked to get into shape that he was going to be something special. I have been told I was crazy and told that Perk is nothing more than a back up center on a bad team. I never believed that and it seems that neither do Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
His first 2 seasons, Perk got very little playing time and when he did get into the game, Doc would pull him as soon as he made a mistake rather than letting him play through his mistakes and learn from them. Finally, his third season he got a chance to play and then he injured his shoulder. That summer he had surgery and while Big Al was able to work out with Clifford Ray, Perk was rehabbing his shoulder. Last season he was hampered by plantar fasciitis but yet, only sat out 10 games because his team needed him. But, he couldn't practice and it hampered his movement and jumping ability. He played in pain much of the season but never used that as an excuse.
In spite of the lack of playing time and the injuries, Perk has never stopped working. Before the season a lot of people were saying that Perk couldn't handle the starting center job. I have been saying all along that when healthy and given the playing time, Perk is going to be one of the top centers in the East. I believe that he is gong to have a break out year this season.
I have been seeing a lot more positive comments on Perk after the first two preseason games. But, most importantly, in the Herald, there were some very positive comments about Perk from his teammates.
“Perk’s going to help me out a lot,” Kevin Garnett said yesterday as the Celtics prepared for tonight’s preseason game against Minnesota. “And not just me.”
“Perk’s going to be a real big part of this team’s winning and this team’s progress. He’s very vocal. He has a very, very high IQ on how to play. He works really, really hard, and those things are refreshing. Not only that, but the way he communicates, the way he approaches the game, his work ethic . . . I like Perk a lot. You know we had some battles when we used to play against each other, and now that we’re on the same team, I love him. I love the fact that he’s beside me playing the way he plays. It makes it not only easier on me but easier on the other guys, also.”
I am very happy to see that KG agrees with me about Perk. It validates a lot of what I have felt over the past 4 seasons. But, the article doesn't stop there, Pierce also weighs in on Perk.
When Paul Pierce [stats] was asked Monday who has surprised him thus far, he noted Glen Davis, Dahntay Jones, Gabe Pruitt, Eddie House, Rajon Rondo [stats] and Tony Allen. Did he leave someone out? “I didn’t mention Perk because they asked me who surprised me,” Pierce said. “I expect that from Perk. He works hard, and you know what he’s going to give you. He’s going to throw his body around. I’ve seen him work when he’s ready, when he’s in shape, when his mind’s right. I know what he can do. I know what he’s capable of. “He’ll have an opportunity to have a really good year, because Kevin’s going to take so much attention that he’ll be able to get a lot of offensive boards and get into some open places for passes. You see how KG’s willing to give the ball up, and Perk’s really going to benefit from that. He’ll be one of the best centers in the East. You just watch.”
To me, this is some pretty good praise for Perk and I fully expect Perk to live up to it. In his first two games this preseason, he looked really good and with KG getting doubled inside, Perk is going to get a lot of dunks and a lot of open looks at the basket. He is going to be a very solid center and is going to surprise a lot of people who told me I was crazy when I was telling them that Perk was going to break out this season.
I just love Perk's attitude. He knows his role and works very hard to fill it.
“I think we’re just going to help each other,” he said. “I don’t think you can do anything but have a good year playing alongside a guy like that and with two wing players like Paul and Ray. I think on the offensive end my job is going to be very easy. I’ve just got to stay focused and stay within my role. When I get outside my role is when I start messing up.
“Once I start feeding off of them, things are fine. I noticed the other night against Toronto that I’m going to get a lot of easy baskets. Our team is very unselfish. We’ve got the guys who’ve been All-Stars, and I don’t want to forget Rondo. I can’t leave him out. He’s great at getting in the paint and giving the ball up.”
And, Perkins added, if everyone gives up a little, the Celtics might get a lot this season.
For those who have doubted that Perk could be a starting center on a championship team, be prepared to be surprised.