ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins was one of the stars of the 2022 NBA draft and for all the wrong reasons.
The former NBA veteran center was given a central role in the draft broadcast and used that spotlight to push some of the most bizarre player comparisons you will see in such a prominent setting.
It was only a matter of time before the subject of one of those player comparisons spoke out. And, knowing the combative Perkins, it was only a matter of time before he was trading barbs with that player.
In this case, it was Memphis Grizzlies forward Desmond Bane, whom Perkins compared to Duke point guard Trevor Keels, the No. 42 overall pick in the draft. That comparison is questionable for multiple reasons, most notably that Bane has been one of the NBA’s most accurate 3-point shooters since entering the league with a .435 career rate, while Keels was a .312 shooter in his one season at Duke.
The tweet that started it all:
Within six minutes, Perkins found the mild tweet and immediately got into it with the burgeoning star. Because the internet is a beautiful place, the conversation eventually featured the words “black Santa clause.”
Bane ended up getting support from his All-Star point guard Ja Morant, who also jumped in to mock the hot take artist.
The Grizzlies were saying what most of NBA draft Twitter was thinking.
No one ever said coming up with player comparisons was easy. It’s an inherently fraught activity in which you are often held responsible for how good the compared player will be and what kind of player he will end up being.
The problem for Perkins is he often ended messing up both sides of the equation, which you can probably tell from some of the names he threw out to describe the draft’s top 5 selections. Have a gander:
No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero to Ben Simmons
No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren to Giannis Antetokounmpo
No. 3 pick Jabari Smith Jr. to Kevin Durant
No. 4 pick Keegan Murray to Pascal Siakam
No. 5 pick Jaden Ivey to Ja Morant
The funniest of those is probably Banchero-Simmons since Banchero is actually capable of shooting the ball and is nowhere close to Simmons’ level as a defender, but the mental image of the 195-pound Holmgren trying to bulldoze teams like Antetkounmpo is also pretty entertaining.
Maybe ESPN should leaves its professional draft analysis to, you know, its professional draft analysts instead of an NBA talking head.