With Malice is hosting an Unsung Player Day for blogs to share who they feel their teams' unsung players are. Be sure to check out all the festivities over on their site.They chose Leon Powe, who was a very close second for my vote. There were two other Celtics blogs participating and Leon was the obvious choice since he has played very well, but under the radar all season.
With the Celtics having the best record in the league and the biggest turnaround from one season to the next in NBA history, they have gotten plenty of press. It is hard to say that the team or anyone on it is totally unsung, but I do believe that there is one player, besides Powe, who doesn't get the credit he deserves for the Celtics success and that is Kendrick Perkins.
At the beginning of the season, there were two big question marks on the Celtics. One was Rondo at the point and the other was Kendrick Perkins in the middle. Rondo has won just about everyone over and very few people question his ability to run the team. But, there are still people who don't give Perk credit for what he has done this season.
Many point to the stat sheets and say that he doesn't produce like the starting center on a championship team but nothing could be farther from the truth. He is in his 5th season and every year, his points, rebounds and blocks have steadily improved. This season he is averaging 7.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.5 blocks in 24 minutes per game. He doesn't score a lot of points, but then again, he doesn't have to. And, he doesn't take a lot of bad shots. He is approaching the all time Celtics record for highest field goal percentage for a season. But, Perk's real value goes way beyond these stats.
Perk's defense makes it easier for his teammates. On rebounds, he is very good at boxing out. When Perk boxes out, it makes it easier for KG and the others to grab the rebounds. He also is very good at setting screens which makes it easier for his teammates to get open to score. His toughness inside and his unwillingness to back down from anyone makes the Celtics defense that much better. KG has been one of Perk's biggest supporters and readily admits that Perk's work in the middle makes him a better player.
Perk's value is in the fact that he does just what his coach and his team asks of him and doesn't try to go outside of his role, a role he fills very well. And, good big men are hard to find and command a premium salary. Perk is a bargain at 4.5 million dollars. He may not get the accolades of the three stars or even of Rondo, but he is very crucial to this team's success.