Kendrick Perkins will begin his 7th NBA season in a few weeks. He is, without a doubt, a bona fide veteran. In a few more weeks, he will be all of 25 years young, and a recently married man.
We have watched him grow up, literally, on the Celtics. We have also watched his game grow up on the court. Little did we know, but the soft spoken big man with the permanent snarl on court could actually smile. We saw the wedding pictures to prove it.
He is coming off a career year in most categories, and he was asked to help step up and fill part of the void left by the injured Kevin Garnett. Step up he did. In addition to being the lone true big man left on the team, picking up rim assaults wherever he could, his overall stats were impressive.
His playoff numbers:
Minutes: 36:36 FG: 57% FT: 67% rebounds: 11.6 pts: 11.9 blks: 2.64
Those are very solid numbers.
But more important is his solid fundamental defense. Besides protecting the interior, Perkins has learned to move quickly when he sets up outside defensively as well. Often the bigs have to show on guards trying to turn the corner on their defender and then get back into position. Or front on the pick and roll and get back down to defend inside. It requires a quick and mobile big man and a lot of energy. Perkins has become very good at the whole motion/revolving defense thing.
There have been a few times I have talked to established NBA players where, when you ask them what they have been working on over the summer, they don’t have much to offer. And I don’t mean guys who have the complete package going all ready.
Here are some pre Raptor game thoughts from Kendrick Perkins. Call this his "What I did This Summer…and More" essay.
Here are Perk’s thoughts on the team, it’s mission, his own summer, the competition, and his thoughts on the new guys. Perk waxed a bit sublimely and mellow.
He even thinks the Nets and Knicks are going to surprise people. Yeah, I thought the same thing you just did. I guess he was in a diplomatic or benevolent mood, as he included just about everyone in the east, except the Maine Red Claws and Boston College.
What is your feeling for this team going forward into this year?
I just feel like, on paper, we have a lot of talent. Obviously we have to live up to it. I think guys have been working hard this pre-season, this off season. Guys know what we have in this locker room, the team. So, I think everybody just wants to take advantage of it. You know, I’m listening to a lot of guys in the locker room, a lot of veteran guys that say it’s very seldom that you be getting (to play) on teams that’s this talented and that’s concentrating on one goal. So I think they want to take advantage of it.
Obviously, Rasheed’s quote got a lot of press. Do you think that is something that is possible for the team?
Oh yeah well, we’re going to back him up. I think if we go out there and play team ball, you know, we are capable of playing, and go through guys we need to go through, I think we’ll be alright.
Who is your biggest competition out there?
Umm. It’s hard to say, the east…a lot of guys, people are like….Celtics, Cleveland, Atlanta, Orlando. But you can’t leave out the Wizards. You can’t leave out Atlanta or you can’t leave out the Knicks, you probably can’t even leave out the Nets.
The Nets? (I couldn't even register the Knicks in my head)
I think the Nets will sneak over on a lot of people. They have a lot of nice little young talent in my opinion. I may be wrong.
That’s an interesting one. In terms of your own game, what have you been working on this summer?
Basically, I’m just trying to get in as good a shape as I can. Also I’m just working on new kind of moves, just trying to perfect the moves that you want to do. Every time you want to go to your hook shot that it’s damn near 100%. When you go to your turnarounds, it’s there. So I just been trying to make sure, perfect…I been working on my quickness.
It seems like every year you seem to do something better, or new to your game. You keep surprising people how much you keep improving.
I think, in the NBA, you’re supposed to get better at something…at your weakness. So if your weakness is that you don’t have a left hand jump hook, you need to work on it. If your weakness is not being able to knock down the 12-15 footer consistently, in the summer you need to work on it. Work on sprinting the court, getting deep post positions.
You know, I took a lot of things from Dwight, just sprinting, getting deep posts. Keeping my files on guys, pick and rolls, rolling to the basket hard. Just things like this.
Tonight thoughts on the Raptors? Some think they will be a playoff team…
Just go out and play Celtic ball. When we play Celtic ball I don’t think any team can really… mess with us. Obviously it’s a good challenge for us because they have a 4 and 5 that spread the court and shoot threes and they have guards that can shoot threes and run, so I think it’s going to be a good challenge for us.
And on your own team what about some of the new guys, Lester Hudson, Shelden Williams, etc.
They are going to help us. Give us more depth. I just feel like we have to bring them along. Show them the ropes. And Doc Rivers says, there is the NBA pace and there’s the Celtic pace. I think we just have to get them to play in the Celtic pace.