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Another regular season has come and gone, and the Celtics will be the No. 3 seed In the Eastern Conference come playoff time. Not too shabby, especially considering Danny Ainge took a mammoth risk by trading the defensive rock of the team, Kendrick Perkins, to the Thunder for someone that the average basketball fan probably never heard of. Nenad Krstic had some big shoes to fill by taking Perkins’ place on the roster. Now that the dust has settled…was it worth it?
The shake-up had a big impact on the team, to say the least. Kevin Garnett publicly expressed his disappointment in the trade, and Rajon Rondo seemed more emotionally distant than usual for quite some time. Krstic may not even have fully gelled with the team yet, but he seems to be picking up the dynamite play he came to town with after cooling off for a bit. There’s no question the Celtics lost some fire, though. Krstic is a solid player, but he’s probably not one you’re going to remember doing anything special, even if you follow the Celtics.
Statistically, however, Krstic has most definitely held his own during his time as a Celtic. He’s averaging over nine points, which is higher than Perkins ever averaged except for 2009-10, and five rebounds a game. He’s a respectable replacement to say the least. He’s definitely softer, with his block total not being near that of Perkins, but he does play solid defense most of the time, and is a very solid offensive rebounder. Perkins’ shooting range is laughable compared to Krstic, and while that may not seem like a big deal, having that extra area anywhere on the floor gives everyone more room to cut to the hoop and get wide open. Perk can dunk, and lay it in, but beyond that, his shooting ability was frustrating.
In a win or lose situation, the Celtics got the edge on this trade. Perkins is a fan favorite, and always will be, but Krstic is a solid player in his own right, and with the O’Neal brothers slowly climbing out of injury, a scoring big man is what Boston needs. They get it with Krstic. If you need a deal breaker on this trade, consider that Krstic’s contract would be a lot smaller than the $30 million that Perkins wanted, for roughly the same stats. Another deal breaker? Kendrick Perkins is coming off a serious injury, and will be considered injury prone for a long time, and may not be the defensive force he once was. Still need a dealbreaker? The Celtics sent sporadic shooting Nate Robinson to OKC and in return got Jeff Green.
If all that is not enough, then this trade just simply isn’t for you. Ainge will be a hero or a goat with this trade, depending on how the postseason plays out. On paper, it’s a smart move. Hopefully it translates to a great deal in the long run. For now, we just have to have some faith.