Kevin Durant defends Anthony Davis during a game last season

Kendrick Perkins compares Anthony Davis to previous teammates Kevin Garnett and Kevin Durant

by Jim Eichenhofer

Throughout much of his 12-year professional career, center Kendrick Perkins has lived the NBA’s version of a Forrest Gump existence, with experiences that include starting for the 2008 champion Celtics to playing on the only recent Cleveland and Oklahoma City teams to reach the NBA Finals. Perhaps no one active player has been a teammate of as many future Hall of Famers as Perkins, considering he’s played with five of the league’s top 30 all-time career scorers, from No. 8 Shaquille O’Neal to No. 27 Ray Allen.

During Perkins’ visit with the Black & Blue Report this week, the new New Orleans Pelicans reserve referenced two other famous teammates while discussing Anthony Davis. In his brief time so far with Davis, the 30-year-old Perkins has noticed similarities to a pair of Kevins he played with in Boston and Oklahoma City, respectively.

“I’ve only been around him a couple days, but as far as his personality and his game, you look at his body and the way he plays, he’s got a lot of Kevin Garnett in him,” Perkins compared of the versatile power forwards. “And his personality outside of basketball, he’s got a lot of Kevin Durant in him.”

Davis is the headliner on a roster that has been one of the NBA’s youngest teams, something Perkins factored into his decision to sign with New Orleans. Perkins is the oldest Pelicans player, with every other member of the squad in his 20s. Davis is only 22, while Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday are just 25.

“You looked at every position from AD to Jrue to Eric (Gordon) to Tyreke and you just saw that they had a nice core, young guys that were good at every position,” Perkins said. “Raw talent. All they needed was a couple teaching points on the little things and professionalism. They had that (professionalism) already, because they work hard. But on the court, they needed a leader. The leader is not always the best player on the team, but more so the vocal side.”

A native of Beaumont, Texas, Perkins is the closest he’s ever been in the NBA to his hometown, which is located just 260 miles west of New Orleans. After reaching the playoffs last season for the first time since 2011, the Pelicans will try to add to Perkins’ current streak of appearing in the postseason every year since his ’08 championship run with the Celtics. Perkins’ 143 games of playoff experience are the most on the New Orleans roster by a wide margin.

“I’m happy to be around a great group of young guys, and since I’ve been here, everybody in the Pelicans organization has been great,” Perkins said. “I feel like we’ve got a lot of talent to get things done; we just have to make sure we stay focused and take it one day at a time.

“The young talent (was appealing). You look at their team and (think about) having a veteran guy around to lead them and teach them how to be professionals, how to take care of their bodies, to be responsible on the road, to stay focused and don’t worry about the nightlife. Just the little things. You could tell they were a few things away from reaching a great goal. So I just felt like this was the place for me. I reached out to Dell (Demps) and he reached out to me. I felt wanted.”

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