Former Celtic Kendrick Perkins Takes Shot at Coaching at Draft Combine
CHICAGO – While dozens of NBA hopefuls were showcasing their on-court talents Thursday afternoon at the Draft Combine in Chicago, Kendrick Perkins was exhibiting his skills on the sideline in his first coaching gig.
The former Boston Celtics center spent the day dishing out advice to the prospects, encouraging them during drills, and providing assistance from the sideline during one of the two 5-on-5 scrimmages that took place on the center court at Quest Multisport Complex.
Coaching is an avenue that Perkins has been considering since retiring from the NBA one year ago, and Thursday’s experience only reinforced his desire.
“Whenever you’re able to drop knowledge on young kids that are trying to fulfill a lifelong dream, it’s always a pleasure,” Perkins said Thursday evening after wrapping up Day 1 of the Combine. “But I’m just trying to get my feet wet as far as with the coaching and trying to get as much experience as I can, and I think it’s turning out well.”
During his eight seasons with the Celtics, Perkins was often singled out by his peers as one of their greatest teammates. He was selfless, encouraging, and had a phenomenal basketball IQ. All of those traits should translate well into the coaching field, and Perkins was not shy about putting them to use at the Combine.
When his team wasn’t practicing or playing, the former NBA champion was busy chatting up the young prospects. Having gone through the pre-draft process 15 years ago, Perkins was familiar with what they were experiencing physically and mentally. He had plenty of advice to offer, and they all appeared to be interested in anything he had to say.
“Just told them to stay focused,” Perkins relayed to Celtics.com. “I know it’s hard, but it’s hard to play basketball when you’re not relaxed and ready. I know you see all the scouts in the stands, but at the end of the day, you’re still just playing basketball. So, my biggest thing is just to stay focused and stay calm.”
Perkins felt a sense of fulfillment in helping these young prospects get through one of the biggest days of their basketball careers. It helped him realize that if he’s not playing the game, he wants to be impacting it in other ways by imparting his knowledge onto the future generations of players.
“It’s great just watching them compete against each other,” Perkins said. “You can tell, you can see the hunger in their eyes, and they want it. And you can tell they’re scratching right at the surface of actually getting drafted to the NBA and you just want them to fulfill it.”
By going through this process with those young prospects, Perkins is hoping to fulfill a dream of his own. He hopes that at least one of those hundreds of NBA executives in the stands took notice of his active tutelage so that his name could be placed on their radar as well, as a potential assistant coach.
“At the end of the day, I know it’s a grind,” Perkins said. “I know there's levels to this coaching and there’s steps that you’ve gotta take in order to get to certain levels, and I’m willing to do that. Right now, I’m just leaving my options open. I’ve been doing a little TV now for a little bit, so whatever opportunities present itself that I think is best for me and my family I think that’s what I’m going to go with, but right now I’m just making sure I do the groundwork.”
Thursday was a step in the right direction for Perkins, as he actively displayed his desire to teach and impact the minds of young basketball players. Many of those prospects will achieve a lifelong dream in the coming months, as they either get drafted into the NBA or sign as free agents. Coach Perk hopes to re-join them on that NBA sideline so that he can fulfill a newly discovered dream of his own.