Oklahoma City Thunder: Versatile OKC roster capable of going small without Kendrick Perkins

Scott Brooks has never had as many rotational tools in his arsenal. He’s never had as many lineup configurations to toss out there. And he’s never been more willing to use them.
Oklahoman Published: February 25, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots between Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng (5), forward Dante Cunningham (33) and forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (12) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. Oklahoma City won 106-97. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots between Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng (5), forward Dante Cunningham (33) and forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (12) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. Oklahoma City won 106-97. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Russell Westbrook took a second to digest the question, then another moment to gaze out over the Thunder’s crowded practiced court.

“Is this the most versatile team you guys have ever had in Oklahoma City?”

A few yards away stood Steven Adams, the Thunder’s rookie center with rare athleticism for a 7-footer. On an adjacent court was Perry Jones, a developing 22-year-old with the height of a center and the lateral quickness of a guard.

Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb were nearby, two freakishly lanky young guards. And on the far court was Kevin Durant, one of the most unique athletes in NBA history.

“Probably so,” Westbrook concluded, not even mentioning himself. “Probably so. Because Perry can guard the 2 through 4, even 5. Andre (Roberson), Kevin, our bigs can switch off to guards from time to time, so probably so.”

Scott Brooks has never had as many rotational tools in his arsenal. He’s never had as many lineup configurations to toss out there. And he’s never been more willing to use them.

“The versatility that we have on our roster has won a lot of games for us,” Brooks said.

And that’ll become even more important over the next six weeks. Kendrick Perkins is out with a groin injury, Hasheem Thabeet is stuck in a deep freeze and Steven Adams is now, likely, the team’s only true center who will be used.

But that shouldn’t be of too much concern to Brooks.

Even when Perkins was healthy, he and Adams only combined for about 34 minutes per game, leaving the Thunder center-less for the other 14.

Without Perkins, that number may double. Adams only played 16 minutes against the Clippers on Sunday and, depending on foul trouble and matchup, will likely remain somewhere between 16-24 minutes per night.

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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 NewsOK.com'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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