It's no secret that I have been one of Kendrick Perkins' biggest fans since his rookie season. After Danny's terrible trade that sent him to the Thunder I have continued to follow Perk and in the process, have become a Thunder fan. If Danny had to trade him, he couldn't have picked a better fit for him. I took great pleasure watching the Thunder beat up on the Nets last night. Between Perk and Ibaka, Humphries couldn't get away with anything.
Perk has taken to covering the opposing point guard from time to time. He pressures them up the court and last night in the last minute of the game, Perk was covering Deron Williams. He blocked a shot by Williams and picked up the loose ball to trigger the Thunder's break. He's looking a lot quicker these days as he's finally getting back from 2 off season surgeries. Wojo has a great article on Perk and his leadership on the Thunder. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the article that touch on how unique Perk is in this league.
Within the Thunder organization, they understand Perkins' value extends far beyond the modest statistics. These Thunder are undergoing the natural evolution of a rising power, where shots and minutes are rubbing egos the wrong way. Perkins plays the part of traffic cop, counseling in ways significant and slight.
Perkins is one of the true tough guys in the NBA, one of the NBA's best defenders of the post and defenders of professionalism. He learned under Kevin Garnett in Boston, and will quote K.G. – will tell you stories of his unselfishness, his team building – for hours if you permit him. He'll tell these Thunder about the way Garnett sacrificed his scoring when united with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, about how he made sure everyone else fed themselves first.
When Perkins partially tore his groin late last season, the prospect of sitting out the Thunder's playoff run never occurred to him. He did the most professional thing of all: He never disclosed the severity of the injury, never revealed the truth to spare himself the criticism that came about how sluggishly he moved, how limited he had become. Perkins is an original, one of the last of the true tough guys in the sport.
In a league where some players sit out with a hangnail, Perk played 3 series with a torn groin muscle. He never once complained. Never once used the torn groin as an excuse. Perk brought so much to the Celtics that the box score didn't show. Now, he's bringing the same intangibles to the Thunder. There's no denying that he's a winner. The Celtics traded him and they still haven't gotten back to the Finals since. In the meantime, the Thunder hadn't been to the Finals before the trade and have made 2 straight trips there since Perk arrived. In the meantime, the Celtics are missing something. They can't quite get back to the top. Could it be that they are missing a Kendrick Perkins type player? Only problem is, there is only one Perk and Danny blew it.
Regardless of what Jeff Green does or doesn't do now or in the future, the team just hasn't been able to replace what they lost with Perk. As Wojo says, he's one of the last true tough guys in the league. One of the very few players who doesn't care about his own stats but puts winning above all else. A tough defender who controls the paint and sets screens, and boxes out and makes everyone on the team better without worrying about who gets the credit. I miss Perk on the Celtics and they miss him too.
Former Celtics beat writer Marc Spears is reporting on Yahoo that as of next season, the New Orleans Hornets will change their name to the Pelicans. When the owner of the Saints purchased the Hornets, it was said that he would be changing their name. I was expecting something a little more something... not sure what, but Pelicans wasn't a name that came to mind. But, Louisiana is known as the Pelican State. The brown pelican is the state bird and it appears on the state flag and on the state seal. And, it happens that the new owner also owns the rights to the nickname Pelicans. So, I guess it all makes sense.
But let's take this to a different level. We hear Celtics players all the time proudly proclaim "I am a Celtic." Not sure "I am a Pelican" would carry the same amount of pride. I have a pretty good idea that we won't be hearing that as a team slogan any time soon. Also mentioned is that the new owner's wife would like navy blue, red and gold as the team's new colors. I think the Teal, gold and white that they have now is pretty awesome, but maybe that's just me. Word out of Charlotte is that their fans would love to have the Hornets' name back and Michael Jordan has stated that he would be open to changing from Bobcats back to Hornets if the name was made available. I'm sure that team wouldn't mind leaving behind the Bobcat legacy because they have had some pretty low points recently.
Game time tonight. Celtics once again at home and need to make a statement that the Garden isn't a nice place to visit. The great teams establish a home court advantage. The Celtics so far haven't done that and need to. Of course if they don't start playing better overall, they won't have home court in the playoffs so it really won't matter much.