Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins Must Be Better Next Season

By Michael Terrill
Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins Must Be Better Next Season
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder have center Kendrick Perkins signed on for two more years in which he will be paid approximately $18.5 million over that span. Considering Perkins posted what many have considered the worst statistical season of his career in 2012-13, the 28-year-old better improve in the offseason in order to do the contract justice.

Perkins averaged 4.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 blocks and 25.1 minutes per game during the regular season. He also shot 45.7 percent from the field (four attempts per game) and 61.1 percent from the free throw line (less than one attempt per game) in 78 contests. His numbers diminished drastically in the postseason in which he averaged 2.2 points and 3.7 rebounds in 19.1 minutes per game. What is even worse is that he converted a meager 26.3 percent of his 3.5 shot attempts from the field in 11 contests.

The nine-year player was completely non-existent in the playoffs, and he never truly played up to his ability during the regular season. The fact is his career has been on a rapid decline the past few seasons, which certainly has to concern the Thunder. Not to mention, massive amounts of injuries over the years is starting to build up to the point where it could be affecting his game on a daily basis.

“I don’t want to blame it on (the injuries),” Perkins told NewsOK.com, “because I always feel like if I’m out there I should be able to get the job done.”

It is great that Perkins does not want to take the easy way out and blame his poor play on injuries. However, Oklahoma City would like some sort of explanation of why he has not been able to take his game to the next level since his arrival in 2011.

The Thunder does not expect Perkins to be a top-notch scorer because that is simply something they do not need. Oklahoma City already has Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to handle that department. What the team does need is for Perkins to be aggressive in the middle and control the boards. He must utilize his 6’10”, 270-pound body to control the center position.

“As far as rebounding, I can do a better job on that,” Perkins said, according to NewsOK.com. “As far as blocking shots, I definitely cannot just put it all on Serge (Ibaka). I can do a better job and get back to that two-block-a-game type range.”

The good news is Perkins understands that he is far below expectations, and what is even better is that he knows what he needs to accomplish to be better. The Thunder will have the talent to go the distance in 2013-14, but they will only be able to get over the hump if Perkins plays his part fully.

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