Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder: 5 Steps Kendrick Perkins Must Take to Improve This Summer

Peter HillCorrespondent IIJune 16, 2011

Oklahoma City Thunder: 5 Steps Kendrick Perkins Must Take to Improve This Summer

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 15:  Center Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at Oklahoma City Arena in Oklahoma City,
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Kendrick Perkins and the Oklahoma City Thunder had an up-and-down season in 2010-11. Fortunately for Thunder fans, the team was able to reach the conference finals just one year after sneaking into the playoffs.

    Though 2010 can be considered a success, many things have to improve for the Thunder to go even further.

    A lot of this starts with big man addition Kendrick Perkins.

    Perkins brings the toughness, inside presence and hard-nosed mentality the Thunder need on the interior. However, Perkins has obvious holes in his game.

    Here are the five things Perkins needs to improve most before next season.

5. Defensive Consistency

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 23:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks goes up for a shot against Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma Cit
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Kendrick Perkins was traded for mainly for his defensive presence. However, Perkins did not exactly put forth the results the Thunder expected.

    This may have been due to many things.

    First, not playing alongside Kevin Garnett was a big part of that problem. Garnett is a rough and tough defender that rarely gets bullied around down low.

    Next, Perkins may have had a different role with the Thunder. All teams run different schemes, and Perkins' adjusting period may have been longer than expected.

    Last, Perkins often got matched up against quicker and more athletic players. With more practice and possibly a loss of weight this summer, Perkins should be ready for the competition next season.

4. Some Sort of Jump Shot

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 19:  Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots over Shawn Marion #0 of the Dallas Mavericks in the third quarter in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 19
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Kendrick Perkins was basically void of offense for the Thunder. Unless it was a put-back rebound, it was a surprise to see Perkins score.

    With the implementation of a 12- to 16-foot jump shot, Kendrick Perkins could make the whole team exponentially better.

    Being able to stretch a defense like that would make the Thunder so long and athletic.

    I'm not saying that Perkins needs to knock down jumpers all the time, but if he can step out and attempt one to two a game, it would be good for him.

    Basketball is all about adding dimensions, something that Perkins should take into account when working on his jumper this offseason.

3. Team Chemistry

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 19:  Kendrick Perkins #5 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder wait to enter the game in the third quarter while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Ameri
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Team chemistry comes strictly with more practice and time together on the court. Since Perkins was just traded this season, his time with the team will come soon.

    A lot of people forget that right when Perkins was traded, he was forced to sit out a few weeks because of a bad knee.

    If he can stay healthy and on the court this summer, expect Perkins and the Thunder to figure each other out by the time the season tips off.

2. Post Offense

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 30:  Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder puts up a shot during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 30, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Thunder defeated the Suns 116-98.   NOTE TO USER: User ex
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Kendrick Perkins was really starting to show some offensive life in Boston. Unfortunately for Perkins, his game took a few steps back when he got to the Thunder.

    Perkins was void of offensive moves, often getting blocked and rarely coming close to scoring.

    If Perkins can implement a few post moves to his game, he will be much more versatile. A simple turn-around hook or fadeaway shot would be just fine.

    Perkins just needs some time this summer to work with an interior coach to fix this hole in his game.

1. Staying Healthy

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 15:  Center Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at Oklahoma City Arena in Oklahoma City,
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Kendrick Perkins' health is a major factor in his success. With his major knee surgery following the 2010 NBA Finals, Perkins needs to do as best he can to stay healthy.

    Since Perkins sat out a few weeks after being traded to the Thunder, it's hard to imagine he was close to 100 percent by the time the playoffs came around.

    In fact, Perkins looked troubled by his knee and conditioning during the conference finals.

    If Perkins was around 70 percent during these conference finals, just imagine how much more effective he could be at 90 percent.

    Perkins will certainly take the time this summer to get his body back in peak condition.

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