Perks of Hard Work: Celtics Watching Kendrick Perkins Mature as a Player
Crisis averted: Kendrick Perkins traveled with the Celtics to Miami on Wednesday night.
After missing practice on Tuesday with the food poisoning, there were concerns that Perkins wouldn’t make the trip to the first game of a five night, three-game road trip.
Food poisoning would have likely only kept Perk sidelined for a game or two but the possibility of losing another starter for any period of time is probably something the Celtics would like to avoid. Especially their center, who is having the best year of his young career.
Perk, 25, is on pace to have personal bests in most statistical categories, including points and field goal percentage. Just as important to a player at his position is the improvement Perkins has made defensively.
If his body holds up physically and he avoids any more undercooked foods, Perkins is likely going to best his career average in rebounds per game while also averaging 2.0 blocks per game. If he accomplishes this it will be while somehow managing to get into less foul trouble than usual.
During the 2007 Celtics championship season (his first as a full-time starter) and the 2008 season, Perkins would often find himself on the bench early in the first quarter. Aggressive on the boards and sloppily protecting his home under the basket, Perk was a lock to get two quick fouls before the team even had a chance to find its rhythm defensively. This would be bad news for any team but especially bad news for the Celtics, who have no traditional back-up center on their roster.
This season Perkins has dropped his fouls per game by two percentage points. Not exactly improvement that would earn an incentive bonus, but considering it hasn’t hindered him defensively it does speak to how his approach has improved.Continued on the next page