Kendrick Perkins has played the last few NBA seasons around some legends. He was the muscle inside on the 2008 Boston Celtics title team with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Then he was the (frankly overused by Scott Brooks) muscle inside for the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Now he’s a reserve center for the New Orleans Pelicans. He’s been down in the Big Easy eating some gumbo and working out (probably more of the latter), and he’s gotten to hang out with the Pelicans’ young superstar Anthony Davis. Over at the Pelicans’ official Web site they ask Perkins who Davis compares to.
“I’ve only been around him a couple days, but as far as his personality and his game, you look at his body and the way he plays, he’s got a lot of Kevin Garnett in him,” Perkins compared of the versatile power forwards. “And his personality outside of basketball, he’s got a lot of Kevin Durant in him.”
High praise. But it’s earned. Davis is already a top five player in the NBA, on his way to being the best of his generation.
The KG comparison has been made many times before — an athletic 7-footer who defends ferociously, can run the floor, step out and nail jumpers, and knows how to finish in the paint. They’re not identical by any means — starting with Davis having more of the Durant quiet assassin personality, rather than wearing everything on his sleeve — but you can see the similarities.
As for KD off the court — he’s one of the hardest workers and better leaders in the league. Davis should take that one as a compliment.
It will be interesting to see how big a leap forward Davis will make this season — and how far that and a new coach in Alvin Gentry can take them.