Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kendrick Perkins Is Not Limping Through that Door

Seems ridiculous to even use the phrase "not walking through that door" in the case of the Boston Celtics' Great Kendrick Perkins Caper.  Sports pundits like Mike Felger and Andy Gresh would have you believe that Danny Ainge got fleeced when he sent Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma Thunder for Jeff Green, Nenad Kristic and the rights to the Clippers' First Round draft pick in the 2012 draft (assuming that the NBA is still in business at that time).  Friends and followers alike were complaining that the Celtics suddenly had no chance to win.  Forget about the Celtics' 33-10 record this year without Perkins - including an 8-3 record against their heated opponents the Miami Heat, the Lakers, the Magic and the Chicago Bulls.  That's it; season's over.  Hopefully tickets to the Blake Griffin game will get cheaper than they are right now if that's the case!

Oklahoma? I thought that was the name of a Miami Hotel!  
Rick Pitino uttered that the Big Three (the old, gray ones named Bird, McHale and Parish) were not walking through that door when explaining the Celtics woes back in the 2000-01.  I used that phrase to describe that Kevin Garnett was back at the beginning of last year.  I never used it to describe Kendrick Perkins' impact on the Boston Celtics.  Not once.  So what's the problem now in letting him go?

When my boys found out that KP was traded, they're first two reactions were that (1) Nate Robinson (or as G likes to call him "Mini Man") was gone and (2) the Celtics were getting NBA 2011's stud from the Thunder, Jeff Green.  Losing Kendrick Perkins was an afterthought to them and should be to you as well.  Like I said, there's no problem in letting him go.

Consider the following:

1.  Kendrick Perkins Non-Factorability.  KP was a complete non-factor in his 4 years prior to KG and Ray Allen being traded to the team.  Of the two Playoff Series the Celtics played in his first four years (Indiana in 2004 and 2005), Perkins failed to take any minutes away from...Mark Blount and Raef LaFrentz.  Two total stiffs.  While not surprising, it demonstrates that Perkins was not leading any team anywhere.

2.  Howard's 20 Points and 15 Rebounds.  The Celtics have played 13 playoff games against the Magic in the Perkins era.  Dwight Howard, supposedly Perkins' nemesis, in those 13 games averaged 18.9 points and 14.2 rebounds against the Celtics, while Perkins only logged 7.4 points and 8.5 rebounds.  If you take away Game 3 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Championship (a disasterous blowout by the Celtics when Stan Van Gundy appeared to be on the verge of tears and where Perkins only played 20 minutes mostly off of Howard), Howard's numbers would swell to 20 points and 15 rebounds.  Howard's career regular season statistics (when stats are easier to come by)?  18.2 points and 12.8 rebounds.  The Celtics' Series record? 1-1.  So Perkins held Howard to numbers markedly better than his career numbers, while adding nothing offensively?  Uh, brian Scalabrine could have done that.

3.  Calls Against the Celtics.  Perkins was the poster boy for the new Celtics.  Always barking and taunting, always baiting the referees and always getting technical fouls...and never getting any calls.  The dirty little secret from the Celtics loss to the Lakers last year stemmed from fouls and free throws.  The Lakers attempted an astonishing 29 more free throws than the Celtics in Games 6 and 7.  Tommy Heinsohn is right.  The Celtics don't get any calls, period.  The reason?  Referees can't stand these guys and won't give any of them the benefit of the doubt.  Ainge realized that the road to the NBA Championship goes through LeBron, Duncan and perhaps, Durant and Kobe.  All notorious for getting reserved treatment to the foul line.  Perkins had to go just to make up this difference.  Ainge knows this.

Perkins was a decent player.  Don't get me wrong.  But he was a big man with knee troubles and only the 6th or 7th best player on this team.  If the Celtics don't win it all this year, it's because KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce couldn't hold up. It is certainly not because of a decent defender who averaged 8 points and 8 rebounds a game.  Good luck to him and to the Mini Man.  I'll give you a standing ovation next year if I see you play live.  But that's about the extent of it.

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