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New Thunder player Kendrick Perkins' nastiness starts after pregame nap

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: February 26, 2011 at 9:38 pm •  Published: February 26, 2011

Perkins has been pegged as the missing link for the Thunder. Heralded by some as the game's best interior defender, Perkins arrives with great expectations. The hope is that Perkins' skills will anchor the Thunder's backsliding defense and prop up everyone else in front of him.

"Talking with him briefly, you can tell that there's one agenda. And that is doing whatever it takes to help the team win," Brooks said.

Perkins has modest career averages of 6.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots in 454 games. But the 26-year-old center's game isn't about numbers. It's about nastiness.

Despite being surrounded by four All-Stars and three future Hall of Famers with the Celtics, it was Perkins who was viewed as the linchpin for Boston's vaunted defense. The Celtics finished in the top five in opponent points per game in each of the last three seasons and led the league in defensive field-goal percentage in two of the last three.

"He's a hard worker. That's one thing I love about him," said Nate Robinson, who came over in the deal that sent Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and a future first-round pick to Boston. "He's going to do everything the coach asks. Set screens. Play hard. And he's not taking no crap from nobody."

Perkins isn't the greatest athletically. He doesn't have pogo sticks for legs and won't win many sprint competitions on the court. But he makes up for those shortcomings with dominating strength, tremendously long arms and a knack for playing angles.

And then of course, there's that toughness.

"I sensed that right off the get-go," Brooks said. "He's a serious competitor that really wants to compete every night for his team."

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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