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When Sam Presti snatched Kendrick Perkins from the Boston Celtics, he was once again hailed as one of the best executives in the NBA.
Perkins' size and maturity was exactly what the young Oklahoma team needed to get over the hump and contend for a title.
While the trade definitely worked for the Thunder (and, so far, not so much for the Celtics), one does have to look at Perkins’ performance this year.
The big man was never known to fill up the stat sheet. His career-high in the point column is 10.1 and he never grabbed more than 8.1 rebounds per game in a season. No eye-popping numbers right there.
But, come on, Kendrick. Now, you are pushing it.
Perkins’ numbers are his worst since the Celtics’ championship season in 2008. The most alarming stat is field-goal percentage, which is sitting at 43.5 percent a game. Never has he shot so poorly in the NBA.
Here’s another screaming stat: Kendrick Perkins is only the third-leading rebounder in Oklahoma. Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant both out-rebound him. Also, Nick Collison and Russell Westbrook grab more offensive rebounds than the big man.
Kendrick Perkins is still one of the leaders of the Thunder locker room and is still hailed for his winning attitude, but he has to step up his actual game.
If the Thunder want to make a run to the Finals again, they have to expect to play Western Conference powerhouses like the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies, who happen to feature big men like Tim Duncan, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Oh, and don’t sleep on Sam Presti, either.
Remember: he was the guy who pulled the strings to get Perkins to wear blue in the first place, in one of the most surprising trades in that NBA season. With quality centers on the market like DeMarcus Cousins, Pau Gasol and free agent Greg Oden, Presti could just as well drop the hammer once again.
He is just that daring.