2012-13 OKC Thunder player previews: Kendrick Perkins

Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

Kendrick Perkins is one of the more maligned players these days, but his contribution to the team cannot be ignored. He is the anchor in the middle as he pushes his team toward glory.

Kendrick Perkins, the big man in the middle, is looking to have a more consistent 2012-13 season. Hampered by injuries in the playoffs, Perk was not able to give OKC the muscle they needed to hold off the Heat in the Finals. What is in store for this season?

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Player KENDRICK PERKINS
Position Center
Year in NBA 10
Nicknames "Perk," "Yung Hawg"
2011-12 Stats 5.1 PPG, 6.5 RPB, 1.2 APG, 1.1 BL, 0.4 ST, 1.8 TO
Past Accolades 2008 NBA champion
2011-12 Season 2011-12 Season End Review
Injury History Tore his ACL in 2010, tore groin during 2012 playoffs, had surgery to repair torn ligament in wrist before 2012-13 season.
Contract Status Signed to contract through the 2015 season, often sited as an amnesty candidate.

Zeb's Take:

Kendrick Perkins is the Thunder's most controversial player, but it's not for the reasons you think it would be. He has a tough demeanor and gets technical fouls, but in that area most fans tend to focus on Westbrook, rather than him. He also gets injured a lot and looks limited in games, but that's not a subject talked about among the OKC fans, either.

People just don't seem to like Perk's style of play in general. He's a solid defender, but he doesn't have superstars to stop, so people don't notice. He's a great help defender, but he doesn't get athletic blocks like Ibaka, so people don't notice. He has a nice touch in the paint, but the Thunder aren't great post passers, so people don't notice. And he's rightfully poor at focusing on rebounds.

So, in my opinion, whatever Perk does this season, he's screwed as far as fan's expectations are concerned. They want somebody who's going to wow them on the court or impress them with their ethic, and Kendrick Perkins is neither of those. Many would like the Thunder to amnesty his contract so that they can save up money for James Harden to buy more yachts.

But I think that even if the Thunder amnesty him next season, he's a really valuable asset to have against the powerful Western Conference front courts. He might not exactly be the ideal guy to guard Chris Bosh, but there are few I'd rather have banging down low with Marc Gasol, Dwight Howard, and DeAndre Jordan.

Grade:

Grade_aplus_medium

Sherman's Take:

Zeb correctly assessed the problem with trying to evaluate Perkins from any normal metric. Instead of looking at him and comparing him to someone like Roy Hibbert, Perkins' performance should be based solely on what the Thunder need from him.

What do the Thunder need from him?

Defense - Perkins has to be the guy who anchors the front line defense. Serge Ibaka has come a long way and Kevin Durant continues to improve, but Perkins is the only guy in the post who has made his name on defense. Respectfully, he was hurt in last year's playoffs and that hurt his performance, but we had seen enough uneven play during the regular season to know that he was not at his best.

Rebounding - Perkins is never going to be a Kevin Love type rebounder, but there were far too many games last year where he barely managed to grab one rebound a quarter. If Perkins is getting 25-30 minutes a game, that number should be up in the 8 per game range, and he simply was not doing that. He must rebound better this coming season in order to take pressure off Durant, who is incidentally now the team's best rebounder as well. By freeing up Durant on the defensive boards, this allows the Thunder fast break to engage more quickly and put their elite scorers out in the open court.

Most importantly, Perk is the only guy on the team who can stand up to Dwight Howard. Yeah, that's kind of important now.

A lot of eyes are on Perkins this year; it is time for him to live up to them.

Grade:

Grade_b_medium

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A Player has exceedingly high expectations attainable only if they play to their fullest ability.
B Player has reasonably high expectations that are attainable.
C
Player has moderate expectations which should be met with little trouble.
D
Player has moderate expectations but will struggle to meet them.
F
Player should not be on the Thunder roster.
X
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