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OKC Thunder: Kendrick Perkins explains why Thunder was not ready to take championship step

As a guy who has survived in this league because of brute strength and an underrated knowledge of the game, Perkins knows Oklahoma City’s main weakness. He says it’s mentality.
by Anthony Slater Published: June 4, 2014

“You could see Udonis Haslem starting one day, Shane Battier starting the next, and they don’t care,” Perkins said of the Heat. “I mean, they’ve got a team full of vets willing to sacrifice. They just make the right basketball play. They do it all year long. They don’t have a problem. Their ultimate goal is winning.”

And San Antonio?

“The Spurs, they weren’t more athletic than us, they weren’t more talented than us,” Perkins said. “But they outsmarted us, and they won the series off of that.”

Agenda-free basketball is what Perkins has termed it. Putting aside personal goals for the better of the team, with an understanding that the individual shine will come after the wins.

“You do all the right things to try to get the bigger goals,” Perkins said. “Then making the All-Star Game and doing everything else going to fall into place.”

Perkins called for Russell Westbrook to play more consistent defense, to stop gambling as much, for Kevin Durant to get stronger and build a sturdier base, like some of the all-time greats did over time.

But most of all, he called for a team-wide championship mentality from Day 1 of training camp.

“That’s learning how to play the right way for 82 games and not try to turn on the switch in the playoffs,” Perkins said. “I think what you do in January is based on how you play in April, May and June. You gotta develop that trust early. The two teams in the Finals right now, they play the same way all year long. They make the right basketball play every time down.”

The Thunder, in his estimation, don’t. At least not at this point.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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