Brooding young Celtic big man Kendrick Perkins refuses to smile even at charity events for fear that the rest of the NBA would think he’s going soft.
Kendrick Perkins has a legion of fans so devoted to his ferocity on the basketball court that they formed their own website, which many of you already frequent. And yet, the guy’s career averages don’t seem to warrant such attention–4.8 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 18.5 minutes per contest.
The same could be said for his efforts this season, as the starting center on the best team in the NBA averaged only 7.3 points, 5.6 boards, and 1.26 blocks per game in 24.8 minutes before the All Star break.
Things have certainly changed since Dwight Howard Superman’d the dunk contest.
Since the break Perk has been averaging 8.7, 7.9, and 2.27 in 24.7 minutes per game, and has shot at an absurd 70% clip from the field. Furthermore, number 43 has posted a double-double in the month of March, with 10.1 points, 10.3 boards, and 2.75 blocks in 27.6 minutes per game thus far.
While the big Texan’s newfound spike in production is certainly a pleasant surprise, it shouldn’t shock. When he first came into the league, Perk posted some nice numbers in short minutes, and displayed a ferocious nose for the ball. During his second and third professional seasons, Perkins averaged about 12.5 boards per 40 minutes, and looked like a guy who could soon post a 12/12/2 season at the center position.
Those visions seemed to fade last season, when Perk succumbed to a pesky case of plantar fasciitis, and battled through 72 excruciatingly painful games to the tune of only 8.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per 40. Perk’s inability to move was increasingly evident, and his career looked like it might have regressed to the point where the Celtics would regret the three years and nearly $15 million left on his contract after this season.
Fortunately, with a mended foot and his old spring back, KP appears ready to live up his to expectations and provide KG with the frontcourt mate needed to give the Celtics one of the most dominant defensive and rebounding duos in the entire NBA. His recent boost in play has also featured a couple up-and-unders and drop-steps, a welcome addition to the turn-slowly-to-the-middle-and-get-fouled move Perk featured almost exclusively in the season’s first half.
Still only 23-years-old and now posting a solid and steadily-rising 14.4 PER, the Beast may have emerged.