SQ #36--Perkins: Good, Getting Better--As Usual

Summer Quandaries #36
September 5--25 days to camp

Perkins: Good, Getting Better--As Usual

As an unabashed Kendrick Perkins fan it has always amazed me that his detractors always focus on what he cannot do rather than what he does. That he does a great deal should not be diminished by the fact that so much of his on court activity falls outside the neat boxes tended by the stat geeks. That he continues to add to the list of his contributions goes a long way toward telling the story of his journey from pudgy high-schooler who played less than a full game in his rookie season to one of the most essential, dependable and least heralded cogs on a Championship-quality team. Perk is the quintessential blue-collar worker providing the glue to bind together a collection of star-studded teammates. He sets the stage, does much of the heavy lifting, absorbs most of the hard blows, lets the stars pick up the bouquets tossed on stage at the end of the show, and then sweeps up and starts the prep for the next performance.

The latest SLAM interview places front and center much of what we love about Kendrick and provides insight into why it would be foolish to doubt his rehabilitation and continued progress. I particularly liked the following exchange touching on why the best get better.

SLAM: What areas of your game do you still want to improve?
KP: Well, I still wanna get better with my footwork, my speed, my quickness, my athleticism. You know, I’m not an athlete or nothing like that, but you know obviously you wanna get better at weakness that you have, whatever they may be. So if you always got a right-hand hook, you wanna get a left-hand hook. You know, so I’m trying to work on my left hand, doing everything left-handing. Driving left-handed. Doing everything pretty much left handed, because I want it to get just as good as my right hand.

The good are shockingly frank in their self appraisals knowing that only in addressing those weaknesses will they maximize their potential. We’ve seen Perk transform his body, add piece by grudging piece to his offensive repertoire, and slowly cut down on his miscues. Last season saw a bit of backsliding on the deadly gather before a put back, and he still needs to demand the teammate properly use the pick he sets rather than try to “improve’ it. But you can tell he is his own biggest critic and with awareness and work comes improvement.

Such a serious set of knee injuries is career threatening. But Perkins never depended on leaping ability or scary quickness and his attitude and work ethic suggest he can recover the strength, if not this season, then next. He wants to retire a Celtic and I hope he does, and with additional rings both with the Big Three and after.

Postscript: Apparently there are still places without Internet service. Sorry for the delay and I’ll try to catch up quickly.