The last time we heard from Kendrick Perkins he was telling us how excited he was to finally have a summer free of surgery.
A month later, Perkins underwent another surgery.
He had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last month, a procedure he confirmed was minor and insisted hasn't negatively affected him.
“It was just a scope, basically like a vacuum,” Perkins told The Oklahoman. “You go in and clean up unnecessary scar tissue that was there. It wasn't nothing serious. I was back on the court within two weeks. I haven't had any problems with it.”
That's good news for Perkins, his fans and his critics.
Perkins himself admitted that he was displeased with his performance last season. And so he's dedicated this offseason to developing his skills and improving his game.
“I've been working, man,” Perkins said. “Been in the gym and basically just working more in the weight room on my explosiveness and touch around the basket, hook shots and stuff like that. I've been shooting a lot of jumpers, making sure I make 300 a night. I'm just trying to prepare.”
Perkins' motivation is twofold. The Thunder's second-round exit last season still is fresh in his mind, and he knows he didn't help the team as much as he would have liked to. As for the former, the basketball world now seems to be overlooking the Thunder going into the 2013-14 season, something that isn't lost on the Thunder.
“They count us out,” Perkins said. “But at the end of the day we feel like each guy at the end of the season said we were going to come back better. So we feel like each guy just got to step their roles up a little bit more and step their games up and we feel like we can do that.”
Perkins will be the first to say that he's starting with the man in the mirror.
He's heard his critics this offseason, and while he isn't making any vows to shut them up Perkins is using their criticism as fuel.
“One thing I learned, and I learned this from Kevin Garnett, is don't only read the good things about you,” Perkins said. “Read the negative things about you, too, and use it as motivation. I think that's when it comes to the point when you can be considered a real man, when you can look at both. Because most people will hide from criticism. I take it and I just kind of use it as motivation to get better … I'm ready to get back on the court.”
Perkins is confident in young players Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb stepping in and contributing more next season, saying they, like every one else, has gotten “a whole lot better.”
“I've been watching all the guys from top to bottom, man. Every guy has gotten better this summer,” Perkins said. “Every guy is working. Every guy is getting better. I'm watching guys improve.”
And while most of us focus our attention on whether the role players will be able to handle more responsibility, Perkins pointed to his leaders, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. He expects even more out of them.
“What people don't understand is this is this is KD's sixth year, Russ' fifth year,” Perkins said. “Now, they're veterans. They've got enough experience. And it's Thabo (Sefolosha's) contract year, and you know how guys perform on their contract year. So at the end of the day we feel like we got enough to get it done.”