Player: Kendrick Perkins
Strengths Size, work ethic, scowl, passing, understanding of the game (in the right place a lot), bad ass aura, which is greatly aided by Perk is a Beast.
Weaknesses: Has battled injuries early in his career, foul prone at times (including technical fouls), can be robotic on offense
Go to Move: Last season we got a steady diet of little hook shots that were maddening at times. This season he started off getting open dunks, but concerned fans with his long wind ups that made him vulnerable to strips and blocks. Check out this dunk against the Lakers, which shows him getting away with one of those wind ups. Thankfully Perk is getting the ball up faster now and in the process has also added reverse dunks, reverse lay ups and in general a little more creativity around the basket to his repertoire. By the way that clip of his dunk against the Lakers showed one of his weaknesses (technical fouls) and strengths (bad ass).
What a Difference a Year Makes: Perk suffered through plantar fasciitis and the all around disappointment that was the 2007 season. He then saw the organization completely reformed, a process that saw one of his best friends on the squad (Al Jefferson) shipped out of town. Heading into the season he was, outside of the loyal Perk supporters, one of the bigger question marks on the team. Personally I think he has played quite well. People complain about his consistency but that strikes me as short sighted. To a certain degree everyone not named Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce is going to be a little inconsistent on this team. By that I mean the stars get the plays run for them, guaranteed minutes and the shots. Everybody else has to play a role. On any given night a different role player could shine. Perk does not get enough credit for playing his role well.
Shining Moment This Season: I saw Perk drop 21 points (8-20 from the field, 5-6 from the line) and grab 9 boards live when the Lakers came to town. But I would go with the first 5 games in March when he averaged 10.8 rebounds, including a 20 rebound effort against the Pistons in the final game of that season series.
If not in Boston which NBA team would make the most sense?: I could see him in Dallas where the Mavericks are a little vulnerable down low since the Jason Kidd trade. Although Dallas might be too up tempo. Since the Atlanta Hawks don't like to run, for whatever reason, Perk could help upgrade the center position there. Ultimately he could help a lot of teams.
Random Point of Information: Every time I see Perkins play I can't decide if he stepped out of the 80s (demeanor, style of play) or the video game Double Dragon II (appearance). Maybe it is both. However, I'm more concerned that Perk is viewed as an enforcer. It's not that I'm opposed to that idea, although in today's NBA it may be unrealistic. I just don't like how it ignores Perk's work ethic and understanding of the game. Since arriving in Boston in 2004 he has worked to transform his body. It is noticeable how much muscle he added while simultaneously slimming down. And he really is a heady player. He gets defensive rotations, finds holes in defenses that focus on Boston's stars and passing might just be the most underrated aspect of his game, even with the ally oops he has thrown to Kevin Garnett of late.
Contract Situation: This is Perk's 5th season in the league and he will be 24 in November. That's nice. His contract is even better. It runs through the 2011 season, never quite reaching $4.5 million. That's a steal for a dependable big man/starter.
Player: Kendrick Perkins