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Oklahoma City Thunder roundtable: Who should start at center, Kendrick Perkins or Steven Adams?

The Oklahoman’s staff writers discuss three topics surrounding Kendrick Perkins.
by Berry Tramel and Darnell Mayberry and Anthony Slater Published: June 15, 2014

Tramel: I’d say Adams and Perkins could play 20/20. Each 20 minutes, with eight minutes in a smaller lineup. It all depends on the opponent. Even if Adams progresses, Perk’s defense is valuable. We saw that in the postseason, when his defense against the likes of Zach Randolph/Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan and Tim Duncan was very good, except for a couple of games.

What can Perkins do, if anything, next year to quiet some of his critics?

Mayberry: Aside from averaging a double-double, leading the league in blocked shots, making the All-Star team and winning Defensive Player of the Year? Perk can start by limiting his mistakes. As much as anything else, it’s the unforced errors and mental mistakes that really hurt Perkins’ rep. Those obvious blunders that stand out to even the most casual fans provided even more reasons to be critical when the box scores already make Perkins’ playing time look pointless. But clean up the mistakes and Perk can reduce at least some of the vitriol coming from those who don’t study or don’t care for the small things that he brings.

Slater: Oh, nothing really. At this point, Perk is what he is. He’s not going to stretch out his shooting range or regain some of the athleticism from his Boston days. He’s going to play solid post defense and provide a strong, needed locker room presence. Some of his best basketball since joining OKC came in the first two rounds. But criticism remained because, even when Perk’s effective, it ain’t pretty.

Tramel: Cure cancer, balance the federal budget and broker an Israeli/Arab peace accord. Do all that, then sink the winning basket in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, and some fans would come around.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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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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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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