NBA / Nov 10, 2010 / 5:00 pm

Baller’s Blueprint: How to guard Shaq, Bosh, Yao and Superman

Kendrick Perkins (photo. Keith Allison)

All due respect to Kevin Garnett and offseason pickups Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal, but Kendrick Perkins is still the Boston Celtics’ go-to post defender.

Because he can guard the likes of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol one-on-one, Perkins allows his team more defensive flexibility while keeping KG fresher for the fourth quarter. Perkins’ acumen was never more evident than Game 7 of the most recent NBA Finals, when he was on the sidelines with a knee injury and the Celtics got eaten alive by Gasol and L.A.’s frontcourt in a loss.

The torn ACL he suffered in the Finals will keep Perkins out until around February, at which point he’ll try to reclaim his starting center spot over J.O. and Shaq. In the meantime, he took some time to talk to Dime about the tricks of his trade — stopping the best bigs in the business:

DWIGHT HOWARD
You gotta make him score over the top. Make sure he’s shooting the ball, not dunking the ball. If he’s shooting a shot where he’s falling away from the basket, you’re doing a good job. You just have to be able to stand his strength and keep a body on him.

YAO MING
He’s one of the toughest covers because he can play. He’s tall, talented and crafty. He’s smart and can score over the top. You gotta fight him. Fronting him sometimes and not letting him catch the ball will hurt him. You have to meet him early; you can’t let him get deep post position or he’s gonna score a lot. Start bumping him from half court.

SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
I’ve been playing against Old Shaq, so I don’t know what it was like when he was younger. He’s kinda like Dwight, but not as athletic. He can’t really finish over the top no more, so you just keep a body between him and the rim.

AL JEFFERSON
Another tough cover. You have to send a double-team at him sometimes just to mix it up. I don’t think he’s a great passer out of a double team or out of the post. Don’t let him catch it on his spot. He doesn’t really fight for position well. If you make it hard for him, he won’t fight you too much.

PAU GASOL
Best scorer on the block in the NBA. Right hand, left hand, jump hook, nice jump shot. He’s very skilled, talented, long and athletic. I think he’s the premier power forward in the League. You just gotta be physical with him, get in his head and get him out of his game. And you can do it. If you get in his head, he will get frustrated.

CHRIS BOSH
Very skilled face-up guy, but he’s not a physical player. I try to push him off the block and play him physical. He’s gonna score a few, but you can’t get frustrated by that. Just stay focused. You’d rather him hit you for 18 points than for 40 points.

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  • Steve Nash

    i liked this… almost liking he pulling their cars… i would love to see more from players who can call out others weaknesses

  • pigpen

    These are my favorite articles dime produces. Getting the insight to what Perk is thinking before battling with Dwight, Pau, and Yao is especially nice. Keep it coming

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    Solid piece, Austin!

  • http://www.dimemag.com Lucas Shapiro

    I could just imagine Perkins saying each of those strategies… word for word.

  • Joe’s Momma

    I like it. Perk looks dumb, but he is a smart ball player. If he could stop all the complaining he would get a lot more respect from the refs because he does get jobbed sometimes on calls.

    But just want to point out, LA’s frontline killed the Celtics frontline when Perk played too.

    And when did Perkins have a bald head? And how come he doesn’t look all pissed off in that picture? Is that a doctored photo Dime?

  • money

    i liked this article :)

  • NYC

    Good article, comments and insight by Perk on those Big men.

    Thanks Dime.

  • Promoman

    @ Joe’s Momma
    You hit it right on the head about Kendrick’s composure. He plays himself out of games and guys like Kendrick have to use mind games and play physical since they’re usually on the lower end of the talent scale. You’re in deep shit when you play psychological warfare and are weak when it comes to keeping you own mind sharp in the process. I don’t see it getting better when it’s time for him to play again.

    I’m not sure that Kendrick’s assessment of Pau Gasol is good. Besides the new tech rules to consider, you have to remember that Pau has gotten more in tune with the Lakers’ system and he’s more aggressive and is starting to go harder against guys that like to be fugazi like Perk, KG, and Kenyon Martin.

  • http://www.dumbshitsdntgetit.com Chicagorilla

    Is this some kind of joke? Perk giving tips on how to “stop” dudes who sh!t on him on the regular. Just read where he said he would front Yao…think about how stupid it would be for an unathletic 6’9 guy to front a 7’5 guy…. Seriously? Maybe u should ask him how to stop Vajayjay, Noah, Fesenko, big Z, Kwame and Darko. Because everyone on this list can eat perkins alive! I usually like the blueprint series, but u killin me with this one.

  • Roundmoundofsound

    Frontin Yao aside and a few tweaks on defending Pau; I think this was an nice little article.

  • nizzio

    Damnnnn Shaq would be mad if he heard him say that. Perkins is not afraid

  • dagwaller

    @ Chicagorilla – Haha, yea, these guys give it to Perk. But they give everyone in the league buckets, so you can’t really bust on him too bad. At least he knows the strategies.

    Then again, would you really expect anything else on some of them? Forcing Dwight to shoot? No shiz, I thought it’d be a good idea to let him get deep post position.

  • ecco

    @ Chicagorilla perk is one of the best big men defenders in the game, and he DOES stop those guys. stop does not mean allow zero points you know?

  • http://clutchfans.net Robb

    What about Tim Duncan??? What, Perk doesn’t have any kind of strategy for stopping Duncan? lol.. oh yeah, talkin about start ‘bumping’ him from half way on Yao, the only way he stops Yao is by basically clubbin’ the sh** out of him…

  • quantumleaper

    echo Andrew, nice piece, AB.

  • Dagger

    This is a great article with insights coming from one of the few big men who can stop Dwight one-on-one. Keep ‘em coming Dime!

  • joross

    I know how to stop yao, step on his injury prone foot

  • http://freshouttatime.blogspot.com freshouttatime

    duncan, amare, aldridge/camby?

  • neoy

    why the fuck does camby come into this conversation? lol

  • egypt

    These articles in my opinion are the greatest ones… real insightful and its directly from an actual player not an “analyst” with a suit and tie…. I can see them being somewhat hard to get because it requires honesty and no pr bs but great great article dime!!

  • Jim

    Nuts! Plain and simply, Nuts! Perk could cover Dwight, then again who couldn’t. His low post skills are very limited (see Big Al for low post moves). He needs to get to the basket to score (he may have improved over the summer but, we are talking last year). Not in his dreams could Perk cover Bynam let alone Gasol. Boston’s best chance to win against the Lakers was with a healthy Rashed (what would sports writers have written if after Sheed makes his three, Ron miissed his three, the Celts score and go on to win?) Sheed has more offensive skills then Perk will ever know. And, defended extremely well in every game he played. Bigs that have face up outside shots and baby hook shots kill Perk every time. Take Perk away from the basket and he is toast! This years finals could be different, if KG & company stay healthy. More depth (if not in skills) in size. And, a plethora of bigs to bang, beat up and foul LA’s bigs. IF the Celts can stay healthy (a BIG IF that gets bigger every year)??? And, if Gasol, is a soft as every one seems to think (eighteen rebounds in game seven) he is. All bets are off if Bynam can play a full playoff series.

  • control

    I think Perk’s main strategy is looking like he’s going to eat his own face, then whining, then throwing down 6 hard fouls. Guy is going to miss half the season, but will still lead the league in technical fouls. At least he doesn’t sound like a douche in this interview, like most Celtics usually do.