I wrote the following post, entitled A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, on Celtics Green on September 8, 2006. It was Perk's work ethic that won me over and I have no doubt that Perk continues to work just as hard today. He came back from the ACL/MCL tears in record time. He had gained some weight when he couldn't work out as hard while rehabbing and worked even harder over last off season to lose it.
These pictures show the big difference in Perk as he worked very hard to remake his body from a pudgy high schooler to NBA ready. And keep in mind that he had already started working out and had come aways already before the first picture was taken.
"I remember in my first training camp, I almost died," said Perkins, laughing. "It's a matter of going into the off-season and doing the work. Not only do you want to lose weight, but you also got to make sure that you keep your strength. So you've got to lift at the same time. You've really got to step your game up because this ain't high school no more, so you've got to elevate your game."
As far as a "welcome to the NBA" moment, Perkins recalls a game against the Detroit Pistons where he only played 12 minutes but had absolutely no energy left when he was finished. But perhaps more of an inspiration was spending most of his rookie year on the bench, and playing just 35 minutes the entire season. While some players would have been discouraged by the lack of playing time, Perkins says he's grateful that the team gave him a chance to develop at his own pace.
"I just try to keep improving and not let them down, because the Celtics drafted me. I feel like I owe them something," said Perkins.
So Perkins continued to work on his body and his conditioning, and over the course of the last three years he's lost 53 pounds of body fat and transformed his bulky frame into a constantly evolving NBA body.
"Defensively, Perk comes out with a purpose every night," said Doc Rivers, speaking rather loudly within an earshot of his team after practice, perhaps sending a not-so-subtle message. "I think he's the only guy who gives us an identity, and he's starting to learn how to play physical without fouling."
Perkins says he watches himself on tape after every game, looking for ways he can improve. He checks to make sure he saw cutters, set good screens and was in proper position on set plays. He sees improvement in his overall game on a daily basis, and he points to his post moves, an improved jump hook and the way he runs the floor as the biggest strides in his development.
Said Perkins: "It's all about 'keep working', and when the time comes you've got to be ready for it."
The time is now, Perkins is ready, and he's certainly worked for it. "No Layups."
Perk's motto is still "No Layups" and he is still one of the hardest workers in the league. You have to love this guy!!