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Kendrick Perkins says he looked himself in the mirror after last playoffs

Oct 9, 2013, 5:40 PM EDT

Kendrick Perkins AP

Kendrick Perkins is who Kendrick Perkins is. After a decade in the league we all have a pretty good idea what that is.

But after a rough playoffs last season — 2.2 points a game on 26.3 percent shooting with a PER of -0.6 — he became a scapegoat for frustrated Thunder fans. Why would Scott Brooks keep starting him and why wouldn’t GM Sam Presti amnesty him this past summer?

Those questions will get a lot louder of Perkins struggles again this season or in the playoffs — and they are questions worth asking. But it shouldn’t be on Perkins, who is a professional about his game and how he handles himself.

Here is what he told Jeff Caplan of about the criticism and working on his game.

“A long time ago KG [Kevin Garnett] told me that there’s nobody in the NBA or nobody in the world that don’t have flaws,” said Perkins, who underwent another arthroscopic right knee surgery during the summer, a minor clean-up as he called it. “So the thing is every offseason you try to clean up your flaws. I definitely went into the gym trying to work on getting my shot up quicker, worked on my touch around the basket. I spent a lot of time in the weight room as far as strengthening my legs and just all-around work. I didn’t take any short cuts around anything and I just addressed any situation.

“But,” Perkins continued, “the first step, you just got to be honest with yourself and look yourself in the mirror and just work on what you need to work on.”

Criticism of Perkins is off base — he simply is who he is. He serves a role as a post defender, the problem is the league is moving away from traditional post bigs for him to defend. He was brought in when the Thunder thought they had to deal with Andrew Bynum and the Lakers, but the league has changed a lot since then and his role is very limited (although he would have one against Memphis and Houston). The league has evolved in another direction.

The issue isn’t Perkins, it’s why Scott Brooks is wed to him as a starting center, one that has to get a few early touches on the block every game. It is the organizational questions the Thunder are going to have to answer if this season doesn’t involve a return to the Finals.

  1. lenbias34pt - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    I’m happy Perkins had a good offseason, and it is true he is not to blame he is quite limited athletically, but am i the only one insensed that a professional athlete spends 10 off seasons NOT working out until it dawns on him being in ideal condition will make him a better player?

    Look at Lebron and Mello. If their off season workout routine’s were swapped their playoff win totals would follow suit.

  2. zoomy123 - Oct 9, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Look, I don’t wanna hear any excuses for Kendrick Perkins. He sucks. By almost ever advanced statistical measure, he’s a liability. Even if he is a good low-post defender, that’s offset by the fact that he’s really bad at almost everything else. And the problem is only going to be exacerbated by the fact that OKC has NO bench. OKC will not win a title this year or the year after or the year after, unless they get a reliable bench.

  3. moseskkim - Oct 9, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    im sure he also saw all those articles saying he sucked. only thing he can do is bang down low with bigs. only thing

  4. legend30 - Oct 9, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Kendrick Perkins, I’m sure you know me by now, if you read these articles. And I’m going to say it again, you’re the reason why Kevin Durant won’t win a ring again this year. You’re getting paid Harden’s money, that’s one of the main reasons why the Thunder had to trade him. You are extremely overpaid and a MAJOR LIABILITY. The only thing that would help the Thunder is if you announce your retirement today.

  5. kingwithringz - Oct 9, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    I don’t care what anyone says, he can play. Did u see his defense in BOSTON? The Jeff Green for Perk trade should have never happened.

  6. llfreedman - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    He’s not a good low post defender. He was in Boston, but he hasn’t been that player. His quickness is big issue I see on the tape.

    • casualcommenter - Oct 10, 2013 at 4:43 AM

      Completely agreed. He was, once upon a time, a great low-post defender, but more recently, his low-post defense has declined.

      In particular, in OKC’s series against the Grizzlies, Perkins struggled at times against both Gasol and Randolph.

      And that begs the question – if Perkins can’t guard fast power forwards who play center on small-ball teams like the Heat’s Chris Bosh, and if he can’t guard traditional bigs like Gasol/Randolph, who can he guard?

      • bougin89 - Oct 11, 2013 at 9:53 AM

        Completely agree. Also, he’s such a negative on offense that when he is in the game he really shouldn’t be allowed to touch the ball, save for going after offensive rebounds or getting easy look layups/dunks. But they dump it down to him at times like he is going to overpower his opponent and score. I can’t tell if Scott Brooks is flat out scared of him or if their is something else at play, either way he shouldn’t get the minutes he has been getting.

  7. cflip376 - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    So what do you guys think, is Sam Presti really in love with this guy or his he being blackmailed by him?

    • casualcommenter - Oct 10, 2013 at 4:47 AM

      The Jeff Green for Kendrick Perkins trade was driven by Sam Presti.
      If Presti amnesties Perkins, he’d be admitting that he traded away a guy with starting potential in Jeff Green in exchange for a center in Perkins who deserves to be a backup but has to start to justify his contract.

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 10, 2013 at 7:39 AM

        To be fair, Green was garbage before the trade and has been pretty much useless for Boston for several years (heart issues obviously aren’t his fault, but still means zero production), outside of this very up and down past season. In Perkins defense, he was an OK player when they traded for him.

  8. bougin89 - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    I fully expect Perkins to go back to the production(production?) level of his two previous playoffs in which he had PER’s of 6.1 and 8.0 and defensive win shares of .3 in each post season. Oh wait that sucks too…

  9. ProBasketballPundit - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Great insight in this article. So the next question I have is… why don’t the Thunder consider a change at coach. Scott Brooks had his butt handed to him by Erik Spoelstra in the finals when Spo went small with Bosh at center and Perkins was constantly caught in no man’s land. At that point he should have started mixing in a little small ball with Ibaka at center and Harden maybe in the starting lineup. Furthermore, the Thunder are exposed in the playoffs every season for not having an offensive system. Isolation plays don’t work that well against playoff teams. Look how great the 2013 Finals were… both teams had crisp passing and screens being set all over the place. It was a thing of beauty… and OKC needs a coach who can get them there.

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      I think if the Thunder do not get to the Finals this season Brook’s seat will get pretty warm.

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