Kendrick Perkins: Don't Come Across Him in a Dark Alley

Jay KingCorrespondent IMay 25, 2009

BOSTON - MAY 02:  Kendrick Perkins #43 of the Boston Celtics reacts after he is called for a foul in the first half against the Chicago Bulls in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 2, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

If I had to make a list of the top five people I'd rather not see in a dark alley, that list would probably go something like this:

1. Kendrick Perkins

2. Kendrick Perkins

3. Kimbo Slice

4. A young Mike Tyson

5. Kendrick Perkins.

Honestly, can you imagine Perk's 6'10" hulking figure walking towards you, wearing his trademark scowl across his face?

I know just what I would do—I'd pee my pants and, as the urine was running down my leg, turn around and get the hell out of the alley.

Why is this relevant to Kendrick Perkin's player capsule? Because other centers should start to feel the same way when they line up against Perk.

Just look at Dwight Howard. He was shackled the whole Celtics-Magic series, unable to get any easy baskets inside and, despite having the body of the Greek God Zeus, Howard could not move Perkins enough in the post to establish good position.

Watching Perk play Howard more or less to a draw in the Magic series, it was more clear than ever before that Kendrick Perkins has solidified himself as one of the top centers in this league, turning the corner both offensively and defensively.

On offense, Perkins has developed a solid turnaround jump shot over his right shoulder and a dependable baby hook over his left shoulder. While I don't like him shooting because he doesn't often make it, Perk also started gaining confidence in his 12-of-15 jump-shot. Perk still has a long ways to go before becoming a go-to offensive scorer, but he is far from the liability that he used to be on that side of the court.

On the other end, Perk became the Celtics' defensive stopper down low after Kevin Garnett's injury. In a league where a team desperately needs a defensive presence inside, Perkins was our rock. Down low, his strength makes him an immovable force and his length and mobility allow him to contest and alter shots taken both by his own man and other guys' men.

Perkins showed his importance by blocking a career-high two shots per game this season (which raised to 2.6 bpg during the playoffs), but his statistics alone fail to measure how much Kendrick Perkins is beginning to affect a basketball game. Perkins is starting to become somebody other teams worry about down-low, a shot-blocker who gets in the heads of the other team and forces bad shots and missed opportunities.

My brother claims Kendrick Perkins will one day be an All-Star. I don't know about all that, but I do know this; Kendrick Perkins has rapidly improved and is quickly becoming a force in this league.

The next time Perkins locks up Howard, Howard should consider himself lucky—at least he didn't see him in a dark alley.

For this article and more, check out http://hardcoreceltics.blogspot.com


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.