I think back to Perk's first 4 seasons in the league and how many articles I wrote about what a great player he was going to be and how I loved the way he played defense. Way back then, I was a lone voice singing Perk's praises. Well, almost a lone voice. The crack staff over at Perkisabeast were also on the Perk bandwagon with me back then.
I have been so excited to see all the love that Perk is getting lately. And he deserves every bit of it. Here is just a sampling of what I found just in the last day. First, from Celtics Hub:
Kendrick Perkins is leading the league in FG Percentage at 64.3% per game. Let that register for a little bit for a guy who use to be one of the most hesitant shooters on the team, if not the league.
The guy has surely come a long way but Perk’s continued progression on the offensive end has been a pleasure to watch, as he firmly establishes himself as one of the premiere big men, not only in the Eastern Conference, but the entire league
That is good, but it gets even better. Hardwood Paroxysm set out to use stats to refute the Celtics Hub article and ended up gushing over Perk even more.
I was all prepared to rip this to shreds with advanced staty-stats. Then I actually looked at them. And you know what? Perk’s been downright awesome. He’s averaging 17.4 points per 40. THINK ABOUT THAT. ON A TEAM WITH KG, PIERCE, AND ALLEN (AND RONDO) HE’S AVERAGING 17.4 PER 40.
So Perk’s sixth in usage, and fourth in PER. He’s tops in TRR. He’s tops in TS% (natch). So he’s taking a more active role in the offense, and being more productive. Even with fewer minutes, those numbers are terrific for a what, fifth, sixth option? In short, the man is a Goddamn beast, there’s no other way to say it.
When Celtics blogs started talking about Perkins for All-Star game I chuckled at their brazen homerism. Now? Good God, you’re talking about arguably the most productive overall member of the best team in the league. Maybe it’s not so crazy after all.
No matter how you crunch the numbers, Perk is a beast. Damn Lies and Statistics is a site geared toward fantasy basketball and even there, I found good things being said about Perk. It doesn't matter whether we are talking shooting percentage, PER, or fantasy stats, Perk is getting noticed:
The one line that stood out to me in Boston’s 108-90 win in Charlotte was Kendrick Perkins‘ 21-point, 12-rebound, 3-block effort, which also included 9-for-10 shooting from the floor. Perkins is a real-life monster. I mean that literally. He is the spitting image of Boris Karloff after makeup, but make no mistake, this is one of the best big men in the league. He is strong like bull and is an outstanding man-on defender. He is developing a decent touch from mid range and with Kevin Garnett beginning to fade and Rasheed Wallace withering away, he will be a key to what I think will be a Celtic championship. Steal him from a non-suspecting owner.
The Boston Celtics are riding a five-game winning streak and Perkins' all-around game has been a major factor in that success.
"The kid's gotten better," said Bobcats coach Larry Brown."They've done a wonderful job with him."
And it isn't just coaches and teammates singing the praises of Perkins.
Dwight Howard, arguably the NBA's top center, has been impressed with Perkins' improved play which he believes has been helped tremendously by Celtics assistant Clifford Ray who used to be an assistant in Orlando.
"He's very smart, and I worked with Cliff from the time I got into the league until the time he left to come to Boston," said Howard. "He (Ray) was a big help to me and he's really helped Kendrick's game. I'm real happy to see the progress that Kendrick has made, not just defensively, but offensively, since he's come into the league."
Now, just a few quotes from ME about Perk. The first one is from October 2006:
It is no surprise to hear that Perk is putting in extra work after practice.
Kendrick Perkins is working hard to separate himself from the big-man pack, spending a half-hour with assistant Clifford Ray after practice refining his shooting form.
I love this kid!! He is one of the hardest workers in the league and if Doc gives him decent minutes this season, I expect him to make a huge leap in his play.
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.
And his development, maybe more than any other player on this roster, is what makes this Boston team potentially better than the 2008 championship squad.
I was going to finish this here, but just overnight, more love for Perk has surfaced. CelticsBlog has their lead piece on Perk and all the love he getting. And the Globe has Perk front and center as well. They quote Larry Brown, Doc, Kevin Garnett and Rondo singing Perk's praises. Here's the quote from Rondo.
“He’s the reason why we’re getting in the bonus so early in the game,’’ Rondo said. “He’s doing the dirty work, getting the offensive rebounds. Perk is my best friend on the team. We have a great relationship and I hope that continues.’’
Parish loves to watch Perkins for the simple reason that the youngster reminds him of the way the game used to be played, when big men were paint-oriented.
“He’s definitely a throwback,” Parish said. “Back then, there would have been a place for him, because he’s the kind of player who does things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. But you can tell he wants the ball now. He has a lot more confidence from his teammates.”
I love Perk. And, finally, it seems that everyone else does too.