I joined the always excellent Ryen Russillo on the NBA Today podcast today (today!) to talk a little about the Kendrick Perkins trade, plus the Laker game from Sunday. So have a listen to that if you feel like it.
(Also, speaking of podcasts, a small note for fun: Bill Simmons broke down the Perkins-Green trade beautifully on the B.S. Report recently and in the meantime, gave Daily Thunder a nice little shoutout. So listen to that too if you want.)
Here’s where I have to make a point or two more about this Jeff Green trade before I lose my crap over it.
One thing I feel the need to say: For all of you already freaking out about this trade, just quit. I’ve been getting flooded with emails and tweets from concerned fans all worried about this trade screwing up the Thunder. People are worried about the offense. Oh no, how are we going to replace Jeff Green!?! People, it was Jeff Green. You know, the inconsistent scorer that averaged 15 points a game, shot barely 40 percent and took four 3s a game while only hitting about a quarter of them. Remember that guy?
Don’t get me wrong, I love Uncle Jeff and will always be a fan of his but let’s not act like the Thunder gave away Jerry West here. Yes, the offense has struggled a bit the past two games. But look who the Thunder was playing! The Magic and Lakers are two of the best defensive teams in the league. I’m not sure OKC would’ve fared any better offensively WITH Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.
Can we at least let Kendrick Perkins play one game before we all lose our minds? Can we just do that? I can’t take listening to people call into the radio complaining about this deal. If the Thunder had won these last two games — both without Perkins, mind you — nobody would be worried. It’s post-trade-traumatic-anxiety disorder here.
What we all have to realize is that Jeff Green just wasn’t going to be part of the Thunder’s future. The writing was on the wall. Most of us — including myself, big time — missed it. When Green wasn’t extended over the summer we should’ve seen something like this coming. I kept thinking the season would play out, Presti would have a full evaluation of Green and then let the market determine if he was worth extending or not. But almost like the Carmelo Anthony situation, Presti didn’t want to let Green walk for nothing. So he basically rented Kendrick Perkins for two months, for free. Once the summer hits, Perkins will be the primary target for OKC to ink long-term.
It’s like it makes so much sense that some people are missing it.
The Thunder will certainly have to adjust offensively. Green did add a degree to the offense, and maybe even moreso, Krstic. Gone is that pick-and-pop option for Westbrook. But against teams not named the Magic and Lakers that don’t have Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, Westbrook’s driving lanes will re-open and Durant will get free a bit better. Plus, here’s the bonus: The Thunder will have Kendrick Freaking Perkins to defend those guys!
Some of this is relying on James Harden to elevate his game, as well as Serge Ibaka. Presti is banking on those things happening. And he has good reason to. Harden has been quietly excellent the past month and Ibaka’s improvement since last season has been staggering. So just like always, give this thing a little time. Yes, the Thunder’s 0-2 since the trade.
But can we at least get let the new players play before we all call this a mistake?