If you’re like me, you’ve watched Kendrick Perkins grow up and always loved his propensity for doing the little things, for sacrificing his own individual glory for the good of his team. I always appreciated this about Perk, but I also thought that willingness to do the “nitty-gritty” aspects of the game would keep him from getting the recognition he deserves.
Well, don’t look now, but Perk is starting to get a lot of recognition, first within the Boston media, and now with Sports Illustrated. He’s improved every part of his game; his post play, his defense, his rebounding, and is now getting love from all angles
Doc Rivers even called Perkins the Celtics’ best defender, an enormous feat considering he plays in the same frontcourt as Kevin Garnett.
Via SI’s Britt Robson:
Unlike most players, Perkins doesn’t use a forearm when guarding opponents who operate with their backs to the basket. “If you use the forearm, you don’t have enough balance when they spin or fade away,” he said. Instead, he uses hands for sensory information; the outside hand placed on an opponents’ tailbone to determine where he’s going (and, if possible, to guide him), while the inside hand stabs for steals.
Along with producing studier balance, this approach enables Perkins to provide resistance with an unyielding chest and trunk as the hands give way. It’s a classic, albeit increasingly rare, style of bump-and-grind, low-post defense.
But Boston coach Doc Rivers cherishes Perkins’ defense as much for his brains as his brawn. “[Assistant head coach] Tom [Thibodeau] does a terrific job getting our guys to communicate, but at the end of the day, Kevin and Perk are seeing things before they happen; they have such high basketball IQs and adjust to all the wrinkles,” Rivers said. “The other thing that has happened to Perk to make him better is his focus. He accepts who he is and knows that his biggest value to the team is being our best defender.”
“Our best defender.” Just let that sink in for a second. Did you ever think Perkins would become our best defender, back when he was an overweight, clumsy big man straight out of high school? I can’t say I did.
But he deserves Doc’s accolades, and has become an incredibly valuable player for the Celtics, to the point he is now being mentioned in some venues as a possible All-Star. (If you want to vote for Perk to become an All-Star, click here.)
Perk is one of the few centers in the league who can handle just about any post player without a double team. He’s physical, moves his feet well, and alters a lot of shots he doesn’t block.
Conratulations, Perk, you earned it. Just do a better job guarding Andrew Bogut next time, huh?