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The Beast in Winter

 

Kendrick Perkins just finished his least productive month since January of 2009. After being touted as a possible All-Star, Perk put up the following per game numbers in February:

8.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 55.7 % from the floor, 50 % from the line, according to Basketball Reference. Perk had averaged double-digits points per game in each prior month of the season (excluding October, when Boston played just three games).

Perk hasn’t had rebounding numbers this low since last January, when he averaged 6.5 points and 5.7 boards per game, according to BR. Perk’s game went through a similar Jan-Feb decline last season before he picked things up in March and sustained his improved play the rest of the way.

Of course, he did that with Kevin Garnett out. The team needed him to score and rebound more in KG’s absence, and Perk (largely) came through.

The idea this season was that Perk’s game had developed enough to permanently take some of the burden off of KG on both ends of the floor.

Can he still do it?

Some caveats here: Perk works his butt off, and we all love him for it. He remains a defensive player first, and he has been more or less solid on that end all season. Also, the winter months are the dog days of the NBA. Players talk about it all the time, especially vets on good teams. The excitement about starting a new season has passed, and the playoffs seem far in the distance.  Most obviously, Perk’s minutes in February dropped to about 25 per game, down from nearly 32 in  January and 28-29 for the prior two months.

And Perk is not some sort of magic elixir for this team. There’s no hard evidence that he’s the X-Factor, that the team suddenly starts playing .800 ball when Perk is at his best.

For instance:

The team is 23-10 (.697) this season when Perk scores 10 or more points in a game. That is indeed better than the team’s overall winning percentage (.632).

The team is 44-19 (.698) over the last two seasons in games in which Perk hits double-figures. That is almost exactly on par with the team’s overall winning percentage for 2009 and the first 57 games of this season (.705)

If you add in rebounds, nothing much changes.

The C’s are 29-13 (.690) over the last two seasons in games in which Perk posts at least a 10-8 and 14-7 (.667) in such games this season.

They are 8-5 this year when Perk posts a double-double after going 8-4 last season.

Those records may not be any better than the C’s overall mark during those spans, but one thing you don’t see when you search based on the above Perk criteria is any stretch in which the C’s went, say, 13-16. When Perk is contributing at a decent level, the team has generally played as well as it should play.

And he has not contributed at his normal decent level over the last 16 games dating to Jan. 25th against the Clips. In his defense, the C’s have played a lot of those games against some of the league’s elite defenses (five games combined against Orlando, the Lakers and Cleveland) and against elite big men (the above-mentioned five games plus two against Brook Lopez, and one each against David Lee, Nene, Al Horford and Chris Kaman).

So Perk has been dealing with difficult match-ups since late January—and dealing with those match-ups during the what many players consider the worst part of the season.

But still: If the C’s are going to do anything of note in the post-season, Perk is going to have to deal with Shaq, Dwight Howard and Al Horford.

We need Perk to get back to being the Beast that he is, and he’s shown that he can turn it on once winter turns to spring, even against the league’s best big man (Howard).

I’m curious: What, if anything, have you guys noticed about Perk’s game in the last month that might explain the dip in productivity? Or do you think it’s just a case of the Beast’s reduced minutes?

  • http://perkisabeast.com/blog Carl Spackler

    Perk’s minutes have been cut dramatically. He hasn’t seen 30 mpg since the Lakers, with Doc only giving him 19 min versus the Nets. I could see if Fouls were an issue, but he hasn’t hit 5 PF’s since the Orlando game, one of the few times fouls really kept him on the bench. Glen Davis has been seeing almost equal minutes, despite less than average defense.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @Spackler: Yeah, the minutes decline has been weird. There was the foul trouble against Orlando, and certain teams (i.e. the Knicks) are tough match-ups for Perk. But other than that…

  • http://perkisabeast.com/blog Carl Spackler

    Also, the lack of another legitimate rebounder on the team, has led to teams doubling Perk on rebounds, i.e. when Anthony Parker and Varejo are boxing out Perk, maybe someone else should be getting the rebound (RAY?!?)

  • http://perkisabeast.com/blog Carl Spackler

    Oh i agree on bad matchups, but Perk plays within the scheme, a lot of guys, particularly Ray, break plays on offense and don’t help on Defense, leading to fast break points for the opponent.

    Also, while Perk’s rebounding has taken a dip, KG, Paul and Rondo have taken a dramatic slide.

  • Adrian

    thats why our rebounding is down b’cuz Perk aint on the floor but he has to step his game up he should be averaging 15ppg and 10reb by now

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  • hallik

    Perk, is ‘thinking’ too much out there. Offensively Perk is already heavy footed, but when he ‘thinks’ about what he wants to do offensively he looks like a 12 year 7′ footer who’s getting used to their height. Now, on rebounds and such, there should be no excuse. I will say this, ever been in a work setting, where everyone sux!? You, find yourself, working at that level too? This might be it. We also got to remember, all in all these players have families kids, problems etc. Who the heck knows what is happening in their personal lives that might also have an adverse affect on their ‘career’ focus game preparation. I know that I find it hard to concentrate when my kid is sick or me and the ol’ lady are having a spat. That not only goes to ‘try’ to explain Perk but everyone. Hope the Celts can turn it around. My 2 1/2 cents….

  • pam

    i think specifically it is perks reduced minutes at the end of games. against most teams that is when the celts try to step up on defense and that is when they create the most misses by the opponent teams who try to launch shots from the deep.
    the issue is that sheed is getting those crunch end of the game minutes instead of perk. if perk was in during those minutes i think we would see his rebounds/game improve dramatically.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    just the fact that his reduced output might be attributed to playing against other ‘elite’ bigmen shows where he is in the pecking order.

    perk plays within the system and suffers when he is needed as a focal point on the offensive end. his reduced minutes are due to the fact that the Cs have been continually down late and he is not a net plus on the offensive end.

    a few perk rules that he (and doc) should reinforce because they still happen too frequently:
    - never get a touch outside the paint
    - never bounce the ball until you know exactly what you want to do
    - don’t on hate the refs or it will continually bite you

    KG and Sheed going downlow less and not being the threats there they once were hurts the man’s game also. But if he is going to make the step to alpha big man on this squad (contract is coming up so decisions will have to be made), he just needs to improve on offense. If not, then they can’t pay him alpha money.

  • http://perkisabeast.com/blog Carl Spackler

    All I’m saying is Glen Davis is not the X-mas Present we expected him to be:

    Dec 25th was when Louisiana Fats returned, celtics record is 23-5.

    Since Davis has returned and the Landlord sent to witness protection, 13-16.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    my brother was asking me about the Cs on the weekend – he’s a raps fan. i had to think for a long time and all i could answer was….”they’re pretty unpredictable right now”. LAME

  • http://nbaroundtable.wordpress.com/ Dave

    Too much interest in getting the ball offensively, particularly in the low post, which has led to a decline in non-scoring play.

    Perkins needs to forget the post ups he has been getting throughout this season and go back to being the player he was in the past.

    Perk needs to do a better job being a glue guy. He hasn’t been doing that.

  • http://nbaroundtable.wordpress.com/ Dave

    Sorry — to add on …

    It’s frustration pure and simple. Both with it his own role + with the team’s failures.

    Perk is letting it effect his effort + focus which has led to a decline in his play.

  • I love Green

    The reduced minutes have definitley hurt his production, and maybe even confidence. He used to be a guy who lock down his matchup, then get his points on Rondo driving to the hoop, Perks man coming over to help, Rondo passing to him, and Perkins slamming it home.

    Recently he’s just been doing okay on defense, and then trying to post up on offense. Hes trying to get too involved in the offense when he should be using most of his energy to lock down his man.

  • http://www.northstationsports.com North Station Sports

    Great Read!

    I think Perk has not been getting his fair amount of minutes. Doc seems to be leaning on Rasheed more and more (why?) and leaving Perk on the bench down the stretch. Is Doc opting for Sheed’s O instead of Perk’s D?

    Our team is built on solid team defense. Perk has been a key part of that for 2 seasons. Playing only 18 minutes (like in the Nets disaster) does not allow Perk to work himself into a rhythm.

    Can some one tell me what Rasheed is doing to earn 25+ minutes? He better put on his Kung Fu Panda costume soon.

  • CaptChris

    Perk’s “O” FG% —- Scoring
    Oct. — .545 — 9 Pts.
    Nov. — .633 — 11.7 Pts.
    Dec. — .673 — 12.7 Pts.
    Jan. — .588 — 11.2 Pts.
    Feb. — .557 — 8.0 Pts

    Perk’s Rebounding
    Oct. — 4.0
    Nov. — 8.6
    Dec. — 8.6
    Jan. — 9.6
    Feb. — 5.9

    Perk is the Teflon Kid. Nothing sticks to him. He gets burned and it is because of the system. He is successful and it isn’t the system.

    His Feb. was not good. His rebounding was bad. He had 14 “O” rebounds in the month, and his total rebounds were down almost 4 a game.

  • http://findmesomeone.org/ Sol Wiborg

    Hi – It’s good to find such topical stuff on the Web as I have been able to discover here. I agree with most of what is written here and I’ll be returning to this site again. Thanks again for posting such great reading material!!

  • Pingback: Saturday Notebook: Perk Lives, Doc’s Trickery, a New Practice Schedule? » Boston Celtics Basketball – Celtics news, rumors and analysis – CelticsHub.com

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