ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins was one of the stars of the 2022 NBA draft, and for all the wrong reasons.
The former NBA veterans center was given a central role in the draft’s broadcast and used that attention to promote some of the weirdest player comparisons you’ll see in such a prominent setting.
It was only a matter of time before the subject of one of these player comparisons spoke up. And, knowing the belligerent Perkins, it was only a matter of time before exchanging barbs with this player.
In this case, it was Memphis Grizzlies forward Desmond Bain, whom Perkins compared to Duke point guard Trevor Keels, the 42nd pick in the draft. This comparison is dubious for several reasons, most notably because Bain has been one of the most accurate three-point shooters since entering the league with a career .435 while Keels was .312 in his only season at Duke.
The tweet that started it all:
Within six minutes, Perkins found a soft tweet and immediately connected with the rising star. Since the Internet is such a beautiful place, the words “black Santa Claus” eventually came into the conversation.
Eventually, Bain got a boost from his All-Star point guard Ja Morant, who also jumped in to taunt the hot artist.
The Grizzlies were saying what most NBA drafters on Twitter were thinking.
Nobody ever said it was easy to compare players. This is an inherently fraught undertaking where you are often responsible for how good the compared player will be and what kind of player he ends up becoming.
The problem with Perkins is that he often confused both sides of the equation, which you can probably tell from some of the names he threw out to describe the top 5 picks in the draft. Google:
No. 1 chooses Paolo Banquero over Ben Simmons
No. 2 picks by Chet Holmgren to Giannis Antetokounmpo
No. 3 picks Jabari Smith Jr over Kevin Durant
When. 4th pick Keegan Murray over Pascal Siakam
No. 5 picks Jaden Ivy for Ja Morant
The funniest of these is probably Bunchero-Simmons, as Bunchero is actually capable of throwing the ball and is nowhere near Simmons’ level as a defender, but the mental image of a 195-pound Holmgren trying to destroy teams like Antetkumbo is also quite interesting. .
Perhaps ESPN should leave its professional draft analysis to its professional draft analysts, not the talking head of the NBA.