Oklahoma City Thunder: Kendrick Perkins' critics return, but Round 2 is a matchup made for him

Kendrick Perkins is among the best low-post defenders in basketball, and with the Grizzlies trotting out a terrific inside tandem of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, the Thunder now needs what Perkins does best to have any shot of surviving.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 4, 2013

Gasol, the Grizzlies' starting center, averaged 14.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and two assists in three games this season against the Thunder.

Randolph, the bruising power forward, averaged 14.7 points and 16 rebounds against OKC.

Those numbers might seem massive, but think how much higher they'd be if Perkins wasn't around. The most tenured Thunder fans don't have to think long. The Jeff Green-Nenad Krstic days might still produce nightmares about the Thunder's interior defense.

Perkins' value in this series and against big men like the Grizzlies' duo is among the many reasons why it appears highly unlikely that the Thunder will ever amnesty its starting center.

“That gets thrown around a lot as an alternative. There are a couple of challenges with it,” said Tom Penn, an ESPN NBA analyst and former vice president of basketball operations for the Portland Trail Blazers. “The first one is you have to do it early.

“But the likelihood in a lot of these cases is a lot more slim because you're just giving up on paying talent to go somewhere else and play. A player like Kendrick Perkins, if they wanted to move him, as a dependable big with championship experience, I would think they could park him in someone else's cap room because someone would have a use for him.”

The reason the Thunder hasn't, and likely won't, is because it doesn't want to be that someone whenever a series like this second-round brawl rolls around.

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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