Ultimately, it is the doctors who get the final say on when Kendrick Perkins can return from a traumatic knee injury suffered during last June’s NBA Finals. Traumatic enough that seven months later he is finally back on the court working out but may be a month or more away from playing.
Perkins reiterated to Marc Spears of Yahoo the “best case scenario” has him back by the end of January. Perkins has certainly put in the work so the best case could become reality, but with the cautious nature of the Celtics organization regarding injuries don’t be shocked if February turns out to be the actual date. Perkins gets that.
“I’m thinking right before the All-Star Break I will get a few games in, but maybe a little sooner than that,” Perkins said. “Things are going well. I haven’t had any setbacks or anything like that.”
The All-Star break starts Feb. 18, saving some of you from Googling that.
Spears also notes that Perkins is in the last year of his deal. If he can prove he is healthy there will be a number of teams looking for a defensive and rebounding force in the paint and may pay well to get one (Oklahoma City, we’re looking at you).
But to hear Perkins is to hear him focus solely on winning a title this season with the Celtics, something he feels his injury robbed him and his teammates of last June. He has said it before and he reiterated it again — he is sure this Celtics team can win another title.
“In seven games I don’t think we can be beat by any team,” he said. “Too deep. Too much experience. Too many hard-working guys. Too many guys that have a chip on their shoulder.”
There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.
The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.
Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.
– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.
If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.
They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.
All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.