In case you didn’t know, the Thunder made a trade yesterday. A big one, in fact. (That’s kind of a pun, get it?)
Oklahoma City acquired Kendrick Perkins from Boston in exchange for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and the Clippers 2012 pick. (The Thunder also got Nate Robinson from Boston as well as Nazr Mohammed from Charlotte. But Perkins was the prize of deadline day for the Thunder.)
So, who is this guy? Will he fit in? Isn’t he that really mean dude that’s always snarling?
Perkins, 26, was born in Nederland, Texas and didn’t attend a university. He was drafted 27th overall straight out of high school by the Grizzlies before being traded to the Celtics on draft night for Troy Bell and Dahntay Jones. He’s a practicing Roman Catholic and growing up was an altar boy. He’s 6-10 and 280 pounds, but plays like a seven-footer because of his massive wingspan.
For his career (eight seasons), he’s averaging 6.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. His best season was last year where he assumed full-time starting duties for the Celtics and averaged 10.1 ppg and 7.6 rpg.
In Game 6 of the NBA Finals last June he suffered a major knee injury, tearing his ACL which required surgery. He’s since recovered, finally appearing with Boston Jan. 25. Most feel that had Perkins been healthy for Game 7, the Celtics may have topped the Lakers for the NBA title.
The perception is that Perkins is mean, but that’s just his on-court demeanor. Off the floor, he should completely fit in. He’s quiet, humble and will likely fall right in line with “Thunder U.” As for the big question — if he’ll re-sign in OKC this summer — the answer is maybe. This is a two-month audition for him. Perkins is a guy OKC would’ve chased in free agency anyway so now the Thunder just gets him free for two months. They have the room to make a play for him long-term and I suspect Presti definitely has that in mind. He doesn’t make moves with the short-term only in mind.
Perkins turned down a four-year, $22 million offer from Boston before the season and reportedly wants something in the range of four years, $30 million. That’s definitely a price that the Thunder would likely be comfortable paying to get the big man they’ve been hunting for.
What kind of player is Perkins though? He’s an enforcer on the inside, tough, rebounds well and defends the pick-and-roll superbly. He’s not a huge offensive threat anywhere further than three feet from the basket, but he’s a top notch screen-setter and is a beast on the offensive glass. Between him and Ibaka, Oklahoma City should clean up.
Ryan DeGama of Celtics Hub, who knows Perkins’ game as well as anyone, with some insight as to what we can expect from the big man:
I suspect Thunder fans are going to love Kendrick Perkins despite his flaws. Everything you’ve heard about him being a great teammate is true. He is unfailingly intense on the court, plays consistently hard without touches, and has a sense of team born of time studying under the coaching of Doc Rivers and Clifford Ray and the mentorship of Kevin Garnett.
Of course, Perk made his rep on the defensive end. He’s a great post defender as much for the way he denies position as the way he defends a guy once he gets the ball. He can rebound on both ends of the court, although the Celtics focus very little on gathering offensive rebounds. He can effectively show and hedge, despite his size. And importantly, he will give you real bulk against the Lakers, Spurs and, ahem, Celtics of the league.
Offensively, it’s another story. He’s a turnover machine (expect a 20-25% turnover rate), can’t hit a free throw and coming back from the knee injury, is struggling with a lack of lift. But he will free up Durant and Westbrook with awesome screens, some of them even of the legal variety.
Also, you will really enjoy the odd time you get to seem him smile because the majority of time he’ll be scowling. But you’ll enjoy that.