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Oklahoma City Thunder preview: Why Thabo Sefolosha is Kendrick Perkins' new favorite defender

THABO SEFOLOSHA — The man Oklahoma City asks to guard the opponent's best perimeter player is healthy after a season of suffering in silence.
By DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, Published: December 18, 2011

Sefolosha says he's now 100 percent and ready to return to his 2009-10 form, when he earned All-Defensive Second Team honors.

“I did a good job in the summer taking care of my body and getting stronger, so I think it's going to be good,” Sefolosha said.

Despite his setbacks last season, Sefolosha still ranked in the top 10 in rebounding rate among guards while holding opposing shooting guards to a below average 13.2 player efficiency rating, according to ESPN's John Hollinger.

Sefolosha's size at 6-7, as well as his length and athleticism, have allowed him to become one of the league's better defenders. Brooks also called Sefolosha tough.

“He has a short-term memory,” Brooks said. “He forgets who scored on him. He's just going to stop them the next time. And at that position, you can easily get embarrassed…But he has those intangibles that make you a good defender.”

It took Kendrick Perkins just five games last season to declare Sefolosha as being his new favorite defender. Sefolosha had just helped hold Utah swingmen C.J. Miles and Gordon Hayward to a combined 18 points on 3-for-22 shooting in a win over the Jazz.

Perkins compared Sefolosha to a more athletic Bruce Bowen.

“You tend to take guys like Thabo for granted,'' Perkins said, “until you're out there on the court.”