Kendrick Perkins is leading the league in FG Percentage at 64.3% per game. Let that register for a little bit for a guy who use to be one of the most hesitant shooters on the team, if not the league.
The guy has surely come a long way but Perk’s continued progression on the offensive end has been a pleasure to watch, as he firmly establishes himself as one of the premiere big men, not only in the Eastern Conference, but the entire league.
The guy’s defense has always been there, yet it was his offensive game which seemed to finally break through once KG went down last year. With The Big Ticket out, the big man scoring onus went on Perk and he delivered to the tune of over 11 points a game during the team’s playoff run. The Beast finally began to show confidence finishing around the basket, whether it be through a limited arsenal of post moves or strong finishes off of dishes from his teammates.
It’s funny, back at Celtics media day in September, I asked Perk about his improving offense and whether it would carry over to this year. Here’s his response:
Kendrick Perkins: It’s not a focus….but you know obviously if Doc gives me a bigger role, I’m not afraid to take it on, but it’s not my focus, I’m just trying to play my role.
I’m part of a great situation right now, it’s a great ballclub, so I don’t want to get outside my role, I want to do what it takes to win. If KG not……if he has an off night they might have to go to me, but that’s not my concern, my concern is doing my role and going from there.
And that’s the great part of Perk’s game and overall demeanor, the fact he is still doing all the little things down low on both ends of the floor to complement his offensive strides, whether it be rebounding, setting great picks or protecting the basket on D. He wants to do whatever he can to help his team win. Right now though, with the continued improvement in his finishing skills, an increased role for Perk in the C’s offensive game is the ticket to this team winning more games. It’s also making the C’s an extremely versatile team that can beat you inside or outside.
The Beast has scored in double digits in 9 of his last 10 games, and 12 of his last 15 overall. His increased aggressiveness on offense down low is apparent with these numbers, as well as this teammates’ confidence in his post game by feeding him more often on the block. More impressive Perk numbers and a thought on his future with the C’s after the jump.
Perk’s increased offensive role has also paid major dividends in getting to the free throw line. Through less than a quarter of this season, Perk has attempted 74 free throws, which is nearly half of his 160 taken last year. The Beast is getting to the line twice as often this year (4.1 attempts per game) and for a team that really lacked a major post presence that could get to the line regularity, Perk has answered the bell.
One final word about Perk. Danny Ainge is not given enough credit for locking this guy up long term back in 2006, when the jury was still out on whether he could become a complete NBA center on the offensive end of the floor. The economic 4 year 16 million dollar deal gave Danny the flexibility to bring in Ray and KG while not stripping the cupboard completely bare, leaving Perkins in place as an anchor on defense.
Perkins 4 year deal expires at the end of next season. And you know what? If I’m Danny Ainge, I try to start contract negotiations now. Similarly to Rondo before he signed his extension, everyday that goes by it seems like Perk is making himself more money with his improved play. He will command big money on the open market, so any kind of discount the C’s can get now for the 25 year old to help keep their core in place is money well spent. And it’s likely Perk will be worth every penny.