CelticsBlog's commander and chief Jeff Clark offered to give his analysis of the two players the Thunder have acquired from the Celtics. Please take a gander as to what he thinks the Thunder-faithful have in store.
If you would like to check out what I offered in reciprocity for the CelticsBlog site, please go here:
I suppose most fans have seen enough of the Celtics to know the basic scouting report on Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson. Perkins is a big, mean defensive stud that's not terribly skilled on offense and Nate is a gunner without conscience. With that in mind, and in the spirit of Inception, "we have to go deeper."
There's a reason why Kendrick Perkins was the 2nd longest tenured Celtic behind Paul Pierce. There's a reason why he became one of the most popular Celtics that never made an All Star game. There's a reason why there was an outcry from the fans when he was traded away just a few days ago. In a nutshell, he's exactly the kind of guy you want to fill out your roster with if you want to win a Championship - which is exactly why the Thunder went out and got him.
I always say that he's got the heart of a football player, and not just because he's big and likes to knock people down. He truly buys into the team-first concept. Stats mean nothing to this man. Winning is everything and he fears no one. He's also fiercely loyal and will run you over to pick up a fallen teammate.
Oscar night had me thinking that Perkins is exactly the kind of hard exterior, soft underbelly kind of guy that good movies are made of. There's no coincidence that he's nicknamed the Beast. As in Beauty and the Beast, where the big scary monster has a heart of gold. Or perhaps Rocky is a better example. This kid is limited in the more flashy skills but is hard as nails, takes his punches in bunches, and keeps coming back for more.
Hard work is simply ingrained in him. He came into the league as a doughy high school player that was the definition of a project. He toned his body into a human tank and made his mark as a defensive stopper. Now he has (rightly) earned the reputation as the guy who plays the best man-to-man defense on Dwight Howard. He was so effective, in fact, that he allowed Doc the luxury of single covering Howard while the rest of the team stayed at home on their own assignments - significantly limiting the Magic's game-plan and effectiveness. Note: He has a similar effect on the Lakers, though less so because Gasol is just a more skilled offensive player.
Gushing aside, you have to understand that the man does have his flaws. His offensive game consists of two options:
A. You get him the ball early in the shot clock, clear out, and hope he can power through the defender or draw a foul (where he promptly missed one of the two shots).
B. You drive and dish to him for the easy, wide open layup or slam. Beware though: he has what we affectionately call the "slow gather" where he catches the ball, brings it to his knees, winds up, and eventually gets the ball above his head - providing the defense a lot of time to rotate over and swipe at the ball or foul.
That's it. That's all there is. He's tried working on his jumper in the past, but he has no confidence in it so he doesn't use it. He's not a very good free throw shooter and Doc has never really trusted him in the clutch.
Also, he has a habit of setting illegal screens at the top of the key and then going after the ref like he just kicked his dog or something. And of course, as you've already found out, he's suffered several serious injuries but has a habit of coming back quicker than you might think.
Aside from that, we've had no complaints about him and he's never complained about his role on the team. He'll fit in perfectly in Oklahoma City (not far from his native Texas) and he's just the kind of piece that could push you past the Lakers. In short, you guys are going to love the Beast.
As for Nate Robinson, what can I say? He is what he is at this point. He plays every minute of every game like it was the last 5 minutes of a blowout game. Who cares if there's a rebounder under the basket when (in his mind) it is going in every time? Who needs to set up the offense when he's got an open look? With that said, you need confidence to be a good shooter and scorer, and he's got that in spades. The words Napoleonic Complex might as well be tattooed across his chest.
Basically, he's like the game of golf. He infuriates you time and time again, but then out of the blue, there's that one shot (or game) where everything falls perfectly into place and that is what keeps you coming back for more. Safe prediction: There will be games where you win despite him and there will be games where he does nothing to prevent a loss, but there will be a time where he wins a game for you when you need it the most.
I will add this though. When the Celtics first picked him up last year, he spent a lot of time on the bench because he just didn't "get it" at first. But I give him credit because he worked hard to pick up the defensive system and worked his way into the lineup. There were times when you could see him being the kind of pest that a guy with his speed and quickness could be on defense. Motivation will be key in that respect. If pushed and prodded in the right way, he could very well be a great asset - as long as you know what you are getting and manage expectations.
Enjoy these guys, in particular Perkins. Maybe we'll see you in June. You've certainly got the pieces necessary to get there.