Kendrick Perkins might be the most unappreciated player on the Thunder, maybe even the most unappreciated player in the league at his position.
His numbers don’t jump out at you on the stat sheet. His strengths aren’t sexy. His contract, to some, is a sore subject.
The most ardent Perkins critics think the Thunder center should have been amnestied when the team had a chance last summer. They still think the Thunder should to this day. Just this morning, in my weekly chat, I fielded a question about the chances the Thunder actually amnesties Perkins, which means the team waives him and wipes his salary off the books (although the team still must pay him).
In Sunday’s paper, I wrote about why amnestying Perkins isn’t likely to happen. But regardless of how little sense it would make for the Thunder to essentially pay Perkins to play somewhere else, many still think the team should have done it yesterday.
How does Perk feel about his critics? He hasn’t hesitated in the past to fire back at backlash. But today, following a light practice session that included only film study and shooting, Perkins was asked if he felt like fans undervalued or under-appreciate what he brings and just look at the box score.
“Not really,” Perkins replied. “I mean, you got probably one out of every 15 that probably say something negative or probably say something about ‘He don’t do this, or he don’t do that’ instead of just appreciating what you bring to the table. At the end of the day, it is what it is. My grandpa always told me ‘A pair of lips can say anything.’”
Perk was then asked how his contrasting style, a slower, more bruising method, has meshed so well on a team filled with freak athletes and outrageously-gifted scorers.
“That’s just who I am,” he said. “I just bring something different. I mean, you got your guys who run up and jump with 40-inch verticals and speed and stuff. And I’m just a guy who just tries to do all the dirty work, set screens, get in there, mix it up, make it hard on guys, stuff like that. That’s just my job, and that’s why we got the team that we got because we can just match up with anybody.”