Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
How serious is Perkins about coming back?
He has already talked about the possibility with Danny Ainge, the team’s president of basketball operations.
“I did reach out to Danny,” Perkins said on Wednesday at the Sports Museum’s annual gala event at the TD Garden where he was a presenter for one of the honorees, Paul Pierce. “I told him (Ainge), ‘I’m here if you need me.’ He said, ‘You know what Perk? I would love for you to end your career here.’ And I was like, ‘OK, keep me in mind.’”
“This is home away from home,” Perkins said. “This is where it all started at. Every time I come back to Boston, I just feel … great; it’s sunshine, basically.
Perkins added, “It meant everything. You’re playing for one of the great sports towns, period. Playing for one of the best basketball organizations in the NBA. At (that) moment I was in my 20’s just playing basketball and not really soaking it in and embracing the moment. Now as I got older, I’m like, ‘damn, I was really on the Celtics.’ Even when I was on the Cavs and came in to play the playoffs, I was like, ‘Man, this was home; this is how it used to be. You don’t find this nowhere else.’”
What does Kendrick Perkins’ tryout look like if the Celtics bring him in here? It’s probably a three part tryout:
- Kendrick, here’s Terry Rozier and here’s Jaylen Brown. You have 20 minutes with each of them and by the time you’re done talking to them, they should be ready to sacrifice everything for the team and play Celtics basketball. If they turn it around tomorrow night, you’ve passed part one.
- Here’s a roleplay for you. We’re in the playoffs against the Bucks and Eric Bledsoe shoves Terry in the back underneath our basket. You’re about 20 feet away at the end of our bench. Do you a) Yell “BLEDSOE” and give him a classic Perk mean-mug while saying nothing more? b) leave the bench and amble onto the court to get into it with him? c) implore Coach Stevens to sub you into a playoff game but only for a minute so you can hit Bledsoe with a hard foul? d) nothing at all because you’ve become a lover not a hater? (please don’t say d)
- Last roleplay: We just went down 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals to Toronto. The guys look down; they need a rousing speech. What will you tell them? (oh, since we’re out on the road right now, we’ve brought in 5th graders from the Charlestown YMCA’s travel team. Give the speech to them but try to cut down on the profanity).
I’m guessing Perk will pass this test with flying colors. Notice there is nothing about playing the game of basketball involved in his tryout, because he’s definitely not coming here to do that. This would be all about bringing attitude and a veteran presence onto the team. If/when the Jabari Bird situation gets resolved and a roster spot likely opens up, it makes too much sense to throw a 10-day at Perk and see if he has a positive effect on the guys.
Sure, committing to Perk beyond that would occlude the Cs from binging on the buyout market, but for as underwhelming as the Celtics have been to start the season, depth hasn’t been the problem.
I’m all for bringing in Perk, just someone make sure he doesn’t elbow one of the unassuming 5th graders from the Charlestown Y during his try-out.
On page 2, let’s talk about the starting 5 once more
“The problem with starting Marcus Smart is you can’t bring his energy off the bench,” Stevens said. “He’s a valuable guy in both of those areas for the same reason.”
Smart said there is little difference for him between coming off the bench and starting in terms of approach. But setting the tone immediately can make a big difference.
“We can come out early, kind of get things going, take a lot of pressure off of guys like Kyrie (Irving), who takes up a lot of the offensive things and then having to come down and play defense and shut down somebody like a Jrue Holiday and their starting guards,” Smart said. “That’s tough on anybody, especially with the way we play and especially the way Kyrie plays. Being able to take the heat off of him on both ends is something.”
This will sound like revisionist history, but I have been clamoring for the Celtics to start Marcus Smart for about the last month. Now that he’s started one game with some success, I want him to stay in the starting five for good.
No, it’s not because the Celtics looked so good on Monday night. They could have started Brad Wannamaker, won by 10, and a piece of me just like a piece of all of you would then wonder if Brad Wannamaker should start the rest of the season. The Celtics had us all so despondent going into New Orleans and so relieved at the end of the game, that we just want to see that success replicated over and over again.
But Smart in the starting five isn’t about the New Orleans game, it’s about fixing a problem that’s ailed the Celtics over the first two months of the season. The NBA is becoming “positionless” but the Celtics original starting 5 is almost too “positionless” and guys have pressed while trying to figure out how they fit into a rotation where everyone can do a bit of everything.
Marcus Smart, on the other hand, has a clear position, or role — bring energy, play suffocating defense and be an additional facilitator so Kyrie Irving can play off the ball. He’ll play that position for eternity, not worrying about how many points he scores or shots he takes.
Stevens mentions that having Marcus start means losing his energy off the bench. Well, this move, along with keeping Marcus Morris in the starting lineup, allows Terry Rozier the freedom to be the energy guy and 6th man off the bench.
He obviously wants to start down the line, but now the second unit backcourt belongs to Terry Rozier. Maybe that’s what he needs in order to wake up and snap out of his funk.
This deep and talented set of guys needs to settle into well defined roles and play within them. Marcus Smart knows his, and he should bring it to the starting five consistently.
The rest of the links: