Just hours after Boston completed three deals as part of a roster overhaul, the most noteworthy of which sent starting center Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City in an NBA trade deadline shocker, the Celtics' locker room ran the gamut of grief. From denial to mild anger to depression to acceptance, Boston players struggled to grasp the loss of a core member of the Big Three era. "A tough day to play basketball, you know?" Garnett said after the Celtics fell 89-75 at Pepsi Center. "A very tough day to play basketball. To even concentrate, to be bluntly honest. It's not even about a teammate, it feels like we lost a family member today."
Examining the Celtics-Thunder trade on its merits, I think Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has once again come out on top. (There's also a first-rounder in there, as well -- a 2012 Clippers pick.) Let's begin with the article of faith that the team that gets the best player usually makes out the best in the trade. Green is the best player among the four. I can't imagine any general manager, including Presti, disputing that. Green is 24 years old. He was averaging 15.2 points a game, third on the Thunder behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. He started all 49 games he played, averaging 37 minutes per contest.
So just how valuable was Kendrick Perkins to the Celtics' defense? Let's focus on the post, where Perkins did most of his prowling on defense. In the previous three seasons, the Celtics' post-up defense ranked either first or second in the NBA in opponent points per possession. This season, with Perkins missing 43 games, Boston has dipped to fourth. In that span, Perkins established himself as an elite post defender. He ranked third in both 2007-08 and 2008-09 in points allowed per play in post-up situations. Last season, he was sixth.
Everyone in Beantown is puzzled by this deal, but the Celtics desperately needed a wing and had a surplus of centers. Obviously, dealing Perkins was a risk, and getting the Clippers draft pick is of questionable value for a team trying to win a title right now. I wrote more about the move HERE, but suffice it to say I can understand the logic as long as the Celtics think it's the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, not the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers, who present the greatest threats to their title hopes this season.