Kendrick Perkins continues to embarrass himself by comparing his legacy to ex-Jazzman Rudy Gobert

It's hard to tell if he actually believes his latest claim knowing his reputation as an analyst, but regardless, his latest comparison goes beyond ridiculous and right to delusional.
Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Two
Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Two / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

Kendrick Perkins already embarrassed himself when he criticized picking former Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert as the 2024 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Well, now he has doubled down on his Gobert criticism. This time, it's not about Gobert not being Defensive Player of the Year. It's more about how he could do something Gobert could not, according to him.

While talking with Brandon "Scoop B" Robinson, Perkins claimed he had done something Gobert has not.

“People thought I was capping. I had a better postseason, defensively, than Rudy. I’m talking about career-wise. … If you go back and watch film, I showed up in big moments. I didn’t have a Defensive Player of the Year award. I showed up in big moments. He didn’t, man.”

Of course, the basis of Perkins' argument stems from Luka Doncic, one of the best scorers in the NBA who can't really be stopped, hitting the game-winning three against the Timberwolves to go up 3-0 in the Western Conference Finals. When Perkins was in the NBA, surely nothing like that ever happened to him.

Believing that Gobert is overrated is one thing. But using specifically your legacy to downplay him is another. If this was, say, Draymond Green doing this, as annoying as he is (especially when it comes to how he feels about Gobert), he has a leg to stand on when comparing their legacies. But Kendrick Perkins?

Kendrick Perkins' 'Playoff Defense' Legacy

Throughout his 15-year NBA career, Perkins has a title and three other NBA Finals appearances on his resume. For full context, his last go-round came from ring-chasing with the Cavaliers in 2015, where he barely saw any playing time despite the Cavaliers missing Kevin Love.

The notion he ever had a better defensive performance than Gobert is laughable. It helps to be able to defend at a high level when you're playing next to two of the best defensive big men of their respective eras: Kevin Garnett and Serge Ibaka.

When he played for the Celtics, Perkins was pretty much the Ringo Starr of their starting five. Did he help them? Sure, but it's not like he wasn't replaceable. The one thing he did well during his heyday was defend the bruising centers like Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum. However, the Celtics did perfectly fine without him.

When he missed the first half of the 2010-11 season, 39-year-old Shaquille O'Neal, that Celtics team didn't miss a beat. In fact, their offense with Shaq was better than it ever had been with Perkins. The mistake they made was counting on Shaq to be healthy for an extended playoff run.

The Celtics traded Perkins back in 2011 because they didn't believe he was worth the deal he wanted. Despite not getting the return they would have liked, he proved them right. Though 2011 went down in flames due to injuries, they came within one game of beating LeBron James and the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals the following year. That wasn't the only reason they were right about Perkins.

The Heat embarrassed the Thunder in 2012, a series in which the Thunder came in as the favorites, in part because Perkins was too slow-footed to keep up with the Heat. Whether it was too much spacing on the floor or too much quickness, Perkins was singled out and outmatched every time. Just watch the footage.

Now, was Kendrick Perkins a good defender during his heyday? Yeah he was, but he lucked out as one of those players whose style of play happened to mesh with both the era he played in and the team he played for.

Rudy Gobert has never been nor ever will be one of those players who benefited from the system. He is the system, and other defenders benefited from having him. That's why he just had his most monstrous season defensively since his days with the Jazz.

More importantly, criticizing Gobert for his defense is simply confirmation bias. The Timberwolves went out in embarrassing fashion. While Gobert's not blameless for what happened to them, his defense is not what detractors should point to.

Kendrick Perkins has every right to criticize Rudy Gobert's flaws when he's on the floor. But he loses all credibility when he boosts his legacy as a defender to push Gobert's down. But all of that begs the question - Kendrick Perkins had credibility?