Though the Thunder is considered Kevin Durant's team, leadership also comes from starting center Kendrick Perkins, an imposing figure and a member of the 2008 world champion Boston Celtics.
Perkins said he and Durant each lead in their own way.
“I'd never tell KD this, but I think he kind of set the bar high for me,” Perkins said. “Practice starts at 10, and he's there at 7:45 every morning. I'm looking at him like, ‘Dude, what are you doing?' Seriously, I'm used to getting my (extra) shots up after practice. He's before and after practice. So I'm like, ‘Man, you're setting the bar up pretty high for a guy who's got (two) kids.' I need every extra minute of my sleep.
“KD is a guy who leads by example. When I first got here, I had never seen a superstar work as hard as him, and that's the honest truth. Just watching him before practice, then he goes through practice hard, he's shooting again after practice. I'm like, ‘When do this dude ever get tired?' It was something like two weeks after the season was over with … he went to Rucker (Park in New York City) and dropped 60 (actually 66 points). I'm like, ‘When's your vacation time?'
“But that's the way he sets the bar for the team. He really leads by example by not even saying a word. So it's cool.”
Second-year center Cole Aldrich playfully was asked if he wished he could do some of the things athletic forward Serge Ibaka can do.
The 6-foot-11, 245-pound Aldrich smiled, shrugged and said: “Heck, I mean, there's a lot of things I wish I could do like Kevin. I wish I could shoot the ball and handle it.”
FEELING A CHILL