Friday, February 11, 2005



There are a number of interesting storylines this season for a team whose fortunes seem to rise and fall week-to-week, and sometimes day-to-day. What else would you expect from a team that, halfway through the season, could be the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, or in the draft lottery. Ask yourself which of these options do you think the GM would prefer?

Here at CelticsDoom, we find some angles more interesting than others.

Rebuilding on the Fly - To Run or Not to Run - AJ, Real Deal - Raef Can Still Play, Blount Can't - Ricky Isn't A Dick? - Pierce Is! - Walter Gone, Banks Next - Doc Bad, But Better than OB

But my favorite storyline of the past few eventful months for our beloved, yet flawed, team is the emergence of Kendrick Perkins. Prior to the season, most of us had similar feelings about the young Celtic five. We had seen Banks the most, with the majority of right-minded fans coming to the conclusion that, while athletically gifted, he would never be a good PG in the NBA. A notion he has done nothing to dispel this year.

As a college basketball fan, I had seen both Allen and West (Allen in person during the Final Four last year, which UConn won if you don't recall), and I, like most, thought they both would be fine NBA prospects. Summer league, and stories of Allen dominating the famous Jordan/Chicago pick-up games, gave us a hint that he could be something special. West was a winner with a smart, if unspectacular, game. He gave us hope that the oft-mentioned, rarely implemented running game would actually be utilized. We all suspected, through press accounts and mostly through the summer league, that AJ was the real thing. He had an NBA body with athleticism, a nice touch around the basket, and a humble demeanor.

The one guy we knew little about was big Perk. Picked late in the first round last year, the overweight high-schooler garnered few minutes, as less attention from the coaching staff. On a side note, fuck OB. As one of those 'old-school rookies-shouldn't-play' coach, OB somehow found it in his coaching heart to give an extended look to a young undersized second-round power forward, but the 19 year old Perkins wallowed on the bench.

Don't forget, last year Perk was a guy who should have been sleeping through Communications 101 at State U while an athletic staff of dozens helped him with his game, his conditioning, and his life. With the C's, it seemed as if he received little guidance.

Now, fast forward to the summer. Both local papers were writing typical BJ columns about Perk's weight loss, desire, and leadership for the four new guys. Leadership he claims he never got. Unfortunately, the well-intentioned big man played like shit in Florida and Vegas, making many of us wonder whether he would ever get off the bench during the regular season.

Perk started the season the same way he finished and started the last - riding the pine. Of the first 24 games of the 2005 season, Kendrick totaled 43 minutes with 10 dreaded DNP-CD. Sure, he showed glimpses of hustle, but there was little to suggest he could be a regular contributor to a mediocre team. Then came the Knick game with Raef on the shelf. It was to be the big AJ game; the first start of his career. But Perk stole the show with 13 boards in 25 active minutes. Suddenly, a team with an underwhelming front line had found a presence. He had good instincts at the rim, and he fought for every ball (usually while Blount was already running back on> D).

Since that game, Perk has averaged little more than eleven minutes a game, with many of us wondering why he doesn't get more. His numbers don't seem that impressive, unless you use the ridiculous per 48 stats, but it's more about the numbers with Perk. He cares. He's trying so hard to find a niche on the team that he leveled one of the least intimidating forwards in the league. He knocks people around, he blocks shots, and when given the opportunity (usually only on an offensive board), he can score.

Perk is going to be a solid back-up center for a winning team in the NBA, he's a lot more than most of us thought only a month and a half ago, and he's the best story for the Celtic's this year.

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