Perkins started his NBA career as a member, briefly, of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Four drafted players were exchanged after being picked, and while Perkins was the lowest pick of the group he turned out to be the best player, by far, of the four.
NBA fans were wondering what was happening when the draft day trade of Perkins and Marcus Banks for Troy Bell and Dahntay Jones was announced.
In the 2003 NBA draft, Memphis picked Banks at 13 and Perkins at 27. Boston used picks 16 and 20 on Bell and Jones. So at the time it looked like Perkins was just a throw-in, now he has a championship ring.
When he was drafted, Perkins was listed at around 280 pounds. He was considered to be a long-term project player that needed to refine his offensive skills and improve his fitness levels.
The Celtics sat him a lot in his first year in the NBA, something that was expected as he was drafted right out of high school. For his second year in the NBA his minutes went up to around 9 per game, and for his third year he was getting nearly 20 minutes of playing time.
Perkins made a big leap in stats in 2007-08. He went from scoring at around 50% to a very good 61.5%. The next year saw another increase in minutes and Perkins was able to block 2 shots per game.
The Celtics would talk about the starting unit of Perkins, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen never losing in the NBA playoffs. They won a championship, and then had Perkins injured in the finals so he was unable to play in the deciding game.
With the Celtics worried about Perkins leaving as a free agent, as Boston already had a lot of money committed to Rondo, Garnett, Pierce and Allen, they pulled the trigger on a deadline deal to send Perkins to Oklahoma City. Perkins and little Nate Robinson went to the Thunder, forward Jeff Green and center Nenad Krstic were sent to the Celtics.
With the Thunder, Perkins is given the role that Bill Cartwright had on the Chicago Bulls. Durant, like Jordan, is there to score and Perkins, like Cartwright and later Longley, has to fill the paint, make it tough for opposition centers to score, rebound and block a shot.
That is why the Thunder wanted Perkins, and not Krstic, at center for the playoffs. Durant, Westbrook and Sefolosha can guard the perimeter, and Ibaka can provide some blocks but Perkins has the necessary bulk and strength to guard the post. This was a previous weakness for the Thunder.
One thing the Oklahoma City Thunder won’t be expecting from Kendrick Perkins is assists. You can add up his assists and steals and they won’t equal his turnovers. For his career, Perkins only gets one assist per game.
An odd stat over his career, his field goal and free throw percentages have been very similar. That means he struggles a bit on free throws and scores at a high percentage from his dunks and other short-range work. For season 2010, Perkins was at 60% from the field, his free throw percentage was 58%.