I think Kendrick Perkins was such a fan favorite partially because he was probably the least skillful and athletically gifted player on the team. For armchair quarterbacks sitting on the sofa and wielding our tools of the trade—-chips, dip, canned drinks, and a clicker, Perk was a guy with whom we could actually identify. I too can, or at least could, jump six or eight inches into the air. I too could make over half my shots within fourteen inches of the basket. I too won rebounding battles by refusing to allow the other guy to jump, set bone-rattling picks, and racked up fouls mostly by letting (perhaps insisting) opponents smash into my body. Yeah, I sometimes wondered if Perk took a work pail to the arena.

Yet Perkins had already missed most of the season before the deadline, and has missed most of the games since being traded. Consider this, Ainge moved five guys who were and/or have subsequently injured in exchange for five players who were healthy; and those additions gave us a total of ten healthy bodies for most of the time since the trade. By my math that means that for most of the past month the Celtics would have been playing with the Big Four, Avery, Luke, and whoever was recovered enough to limp out to the end of the bench. I attribute most of the recent woes to our All-Stars being exhausted and/or dinged up—-certainly the performance of the starters has been erratic and far below the standards of the first half of the season. How bad would it be/have-been if they had been forced to play 45+ minutes for the past three weeks.

Now admittedly, when Danny made the trades he could hardly have known that Davis would go down with tendonitis, Wafer would go down with a pulled calf muscle, Delonte would fall to a sprained ankle, Rondo would be slowed by ailments in almost every appendage, and Shaq’s Achilles pain would drag on for six weeks. Perhaps Perk could have come back sooner for the Celtics but that seems inadvisable since he was now limping on his “good” knee. Going in to the deadline I was hoping Daniels would return in a month (still way too long without relief for Pierce!), and with Shaq day-to-day, maybe the best move was moving/waiving Luke and picking up a small forward from the buy out heap.

Instead we got a major makeover, and a serious gamble that the parts could be reassembled into an effective machine in the final 27 games. Now it took me a couple of days to get over the shock of losing Perkins but the more I took stock, and saw the new acquisitions play, the more I could find wisdom in the move. I think Danny could already see the play of the starters declining due to over use, and not only were things not getting better, the situation was growing worse. The loss of Marquis seemed to be the final straw. The four deep center corps had fallen to a reinjured Perkins, the multiple-injury-but-playing-through rookie Erden, and the two O’Neal’s, Seldom-available Shaq and Just-about-never-available Jermaine. The already thin small forward had been reduced to Pierce the one-man band. The other swingman, Allen, was pulling longer and longer minutes with Delonte’s injuries and Nate’s ineffectual play (at either guard position). This was a team declining and in danger of going off the deep end. No, considering the trending situation, not to mention the subsequent string of injuries, the gamble looks like the safer course.

Looking to current events, Delonte is assuming the stabilizing influence role on the second unit that I expected/hoped for from the outset. After excellent play in the first half of the remaining games after the trade, Krstic has had two subpar games in a row that helps you understand the Frank comment that if he had played consistently well he would still be in New Jersey. The play of Jeff Green (and West and Arroyo) has me wondering why Pierce and Allen should exceed 32 minutes before the post-season (and maybe even play in both of back-to-back’s)—but then the team has been in such a funk. It is the tired and sore starters that have become the gang that couldn’t shoot straight so you wonder how the solution can possibly be to play them more like in New Orleans? I sure hope the winning formula can swing around to the starters playing well for 30 minutes rather than gutting it out for 44. The Celtics need, Need, to be able to win this way to prepare for the Spring season both to rest the regulars and to work the additions into the flow. If the only way to hold onto the 1st seed is to run the Big Four into the ground than I don’t think we can win it all anyway—-exhausted stars can’t beat the best-of-the-rest with just one extra game at home, they need their legs under them and their nicks at a minimum.

Lee Lauderdale 3/21/2011 02:13:00 PM Edit
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16 Responses so far.

  1. JR says:

    Well even if we had kept Perk, we still could have traded Nate, Quis, Luke and Semih away for players (Parker or Battier) or just to open up roster spots for guys like Arroyo, Murphy and Sasha. Personally I don't think we can win a title with Kristic as our starting center, but if Shaq and JO come back it might work out. Basically the trade has put Banner 18 on the Oneal's shoulders.

  2. bballee says:

    Actually I disagree. With Krstic playing 28 and Shaq playing 20, the return to form of the Big Four would make us very competitive for the Championship. Especially with Davis, Green, Delonte, and one other off the bench actually contributing rather than a second unit we just hope doesn't lose too much ground.

  3. JR says:

    Well we'll see if Shaq can play every playoff game and 20 mins at that. But let's say he can, 28 mins for Kristic against Howard's, Bynum's, Gasol's, Boozer's and Noah's is questionable. We saw in Game 7 what happens when we don't have a real center to get all the defensive rebounds. Obviously Kristic is fine on offense and the offensive boards, but in the playoffs you need the defense and the defensive boards.

  4. Mr E says:

    Perk was a fan favorite because he was the fucking man. Hes a real fuckin celtic. Not becuase he has "little skill"...cmon

  5. Mr E says:

    also the above guy is right

  6. I miss Perk and there are no "buts" about it. I watched the Thunder game last night and got very jealous of what they have in the middle that we no longer have. That defensive anchor and enforcer that we won't have. Shaq can fill in if he is healthy but he still isn't the player Perk is and will be in the future. We lost a lot of toughness when we lost Perk.

    Danny could have gotten a small forward to back up Pierce using Semih or Luke or Nate and kept the chemistry and core of this team together. And don't tell me that they couldn't afford Perk - He wasn't going to ask for a max contract, or even a the going rate of $10 million. He would have taken $7 mill to stay with the Celtics and he would have been one of the biggest bargains in the league.

  7. JR says:

    Agree with you FL on what Perk would have accepted. He definitely would have accepted less than OKC paid him. It's revisionist history or spin if anyone is claiming that perk wanted too much. If any Celtic was about loyalty and willing to take a home town discount it was Perk.

  8. Anonymous says:

    whoever wrote thz abt Perk should fucking stop talking abt Cs players like this when they leave this aint fair, we lost in game 7 last year coz Perk was missing n u can tell from the teammates tht they were hurt coz they knw they lost some CENTER POWER GET THZ RIGHT IN YOUR HEAD, u pissing me off!i loved this page but i thnk i will quit...........Cs nation lets stop hating on players who made us proud eish!

  9. Anonymous says:

    did someone delete my comment?great!

  10. JR says:

    Huh? Anonymous if you're gonna rip the writer at least leave your name. No one deleted any comments. We allow different writers with different opinions on here, as well as commenters with different opinions.

  11. Anonymous says:

    hahaha sorry y'all guess my comp did not show my previous comment but i can see it now lol...........i loved Perk

  12. Anonymous says:

    I watched those two games vs Orlando in the garden, I don't think Perk can defense DH anymore.

  13. Imran says:

    I still think when fans look at this trade without their love for Perk they would realise it is a good one. But I get it's hard not to think of your love for Perk! He really was/is a true Celtic

  14. Bohemian says:

    To me it is very simple: Perk should have been offered an extension last summer and he wouldn't have been in the trade rumors or anything. He was too valuable for our team.

    With that said, I really like what I've seen from Green and Krstic. In terms of talent it is a good trade, but Perk offered us much more than his talent.

    And chemistry wise it is not the best moment to trade your starting center

  15. I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I have never personally met any of the Celtic players; an yet, when we traded Perkins,it felt very much like the day my little dog, Spanky, died.

  16. shelbyl says:

    When Ainge talked after he made the trades, he made one thing very clear: He was assuming that JO and Shaq would return healthy for the playoffs.

    I had posted a really long Perk comment before, so I'm not going to repeat what I said then, but in a nutshell: Perk is good, but not a Must-Have for a championship.

    I know that every time we go back to last year we say "Ah, Game 7, if Perk were there we would've won." Maybe, maybe not. Perk was there for Game 1 and 3 and we still lost. Then again, Perk wasn't on the floor against Orlando this year and we won. Perk was on the floor against Lakers this year and we lost.

    Perk was important defensively, Perk was a great guy, an enforcer, an intimidator. Yet he wasn't the core of the defense. KG was and still is.

    Our post-trade slump was mostly due to Rondo's slump. He was back last night, and no matter how far behind, we came back. We shut down a team with Amare and Anthony and Billups on the road. Now, that's defense.

    Missing Perk is perfectly normal. I still miss him. I cannot play my saved NBA 2K11 Association game because Perk is there and it feels weird.

    Yet it is time to focus on the present now.

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