I hear it every time the Celtics go into a rut. Every time they lose 3 of 4, or 6 out of 8 the whispers return.
'Trading Kendrick Perkins ruined the Celtics chemistry and damaged their defensive identity.'
And every time I do the same thing, close my eyes and slowly count to ten. Hoping that by the time I reach double figures, my anger will have subsided.
Folks, I have news for you: Kendrick Perkins was a great role player on two Eastern Conference Champions and one NBA Champion. He did the 'dirty work', helped formulate the teams defensive metal, and knew his role extremely well. However, ever since he was traded his legend has grown. All of a sudden, Perk, an extremely limited offensive player who has not been the same defensively since tearing his ACL during Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals - was the lynchpin of that team. So important, that the team's "lack of success" over the past two seasons is constantly linked to his departure.
He's become the Bill Brasky of the Boston Celtics. His feats have become almost legendary.
"Did you know Perk once played the Magic 1 on 5 - And won"
"I once saw Perk in-pregnate Dwight Howard's girlfriend simply by looking at her"
"When the Celtics traded Perk - they lost their way"
All are equally absurd.
Again this is not a pro Jeff Green take per say, Green has played much better of late, but in general his play since the deal has been underwhelming to say the least. Hell when Roddy White is questioning your toughness, things aren't looking that great. But it's to try and show that the Celtics and Thunder's opposite paths since the deal went down has a lot less to do with Perkins, and a lot more to do with other factors.
Here's a quick trip down memory lane.
Perk was traded on February 24th, 2011 - after playing just 12 games for the Celtics that season because he was recovering from that ACL tear.
The Celtics, with Perkins in the line-up were 8-4 that season (.667 Winning %)
The Celtics, with Shaq/Jermaine O'Neal/Semih Erden as the starting centers were 53-26 (.672 Winning %). They eventually fell to the eventual Eastern Conference champion Heat in 5 games in the ECSF.
The Thunder, with Perkins in the line-up went 22-12 that season (.647 Winning %)
Oklahoma City, in games that Perk did not appear, went 42-23 (.646 Winning %). They eventually fell to the eventual World champion Mavericks in 5 games in the Western Conference Finals.
In other words, both teams were basically exactly the same with and without Perkins that season. Yes the Thunder went a round further, but they also had the good fortune of drawing the #8 seed Grizzlies in the 2nd round at home, while the C's had to travel on the road to play the Heat.
And for those who say "it's not about the record - it's about the defense!" I get that. Perk was a central figure to those great defensive teams from 2007-2010. But since he left, the team has not skipped a beat (on the whole). Again, a look at the numbers:
From 2007 (when KG was acquired) until Perk's trade, the Celtics allowed 92.9 Points/game with big #43 in the line-up.
Since the 2010-11 season the Celtics have allowed 91.8 Points/game in games that Perkins has not appeared in. So the defense has actually been a point better without Perkins in the line-up. Has the defense struggled so far this season? Yes. But it has a lot less to do with Perkins, and a lot more to do with a slew of new guys who are known for their offense, and not their defense (Terry, Barbosa, Sullinger, and yes - Green).
As I approach the end of this long, ranting article just please assure me you'll take this one thing with you. Perkins left the Celtics at a time when their Big 3 were aging, and joined a Thunder team who's Big 3 were entering their peak years. The C's failure to get to the NBA Finals since he left while the Thunder have only gotten better has a hell of a lot more to do with the star's on both franchises falling on opposite ends of the age spectrum than it does on Perk switching uniforms.
Listen Perk is an awesome dude, and a solid NBA center. But he's not the same player he used to be, and the Celtics struggles this season have absolutely nothing to do with him. Blame age, blame injuries, blame Danny, blame Doc, hell - blame me if you'd like. Just stop blaming it on the Perkins for Green deal. I'm begging you.
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Michael Dyer 12/17/2012 05:32:00 PM Tweet Edit