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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.