OKC Thunder: Kendrick Perkins knows what it takes to win the NBA Championship

Oklahoma City's big man won a title at age 23 with the Boston Celtics. Perkins says the Thunder needs to practice patience.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: April 19, 2012

When someone with the size and temperament of 6-foot-10, 261-pound Kendrick Perkins speaks, teammates tend to listen.

Dating back to a Feb. 24, 2011, trade that brought him to the Thunder via the Boston Celtics, Perkins has preached patience.

This might seem odd coming from a man with 12 technical fouls (and four rescinded) this season, but Perkins is surprisingly cerebral when it comes to his trade. There is plenty of useful NBA wisdom behind his Beaumont (Texas) drawl.

The patience Perk persistently preaches has to do with staying the course toward winning a world championship, a journey he completed with the Celtics in 2008 at age 23.

That happens to be the same age as Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and is one year older then budding stars James Harden and Serge Ibaka.

Perkins recalls the grind of winning the title, how the Larry O'Brien Trophy doesn't come easily, even if you're on the best team.

With the playoffs commencing Saturday, April 28, OKC is about to find out where it truly rates.

A 66-game season shortened by a 149-day lockout has been more challenging than many players probably envisioned.

Perkins' primary task all season has been to make sure his teammates don't get bored with the process. No matter how dull or redundant, Perkins has stressed the importance of trying to improve a little more each day and to not drift off course.

It's the same belief coach Scott Brooks and veterans such as Nazr Mohammed, Nick Collison, Royal Ivey have reiterated themselves — and also vet newcomer Derek Fisher — but words sometimes ring hollow.

The Thunder's high-water mark came two games after All-Star break, when it stood high above the Western Conference at 29-7 (.806).

Since then, OKC has gone 16-10 (.615) and sits 45-17 (.726) overall heading into Friday's 9 p.m. contest at Sacramento.

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