Kendrick Perkins has been a valuable asset for the Thunder all season. He gave them toughness, set great screens, got under the opponents’ skin.
In the NBA Finals, Perkins was not a factor. Actually, he was a factor only in the negative sense for Oklahoma City.
The Miami Heat and their small ball lineup was not the ideal matchup for Perkins. He clogged up the spacing on offense as the Thunder basically played four on five and on defense he also struggled keeping up with Miami’s pick-and-roll.
All series Thunder fans were calling for more Nick Collison or more small lineup without Perkins. Scott Brooks stuck with him and it might have cost the Thunder the championship.
Now we are learning that Perkins, who injured his groin in Game 4 of the first round against Dallas, was playing the final three rounds of the playoffs with a partially torn groin, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
What could be more frustrating for Thunder fans? As if it wasn’t enough that Perkins was actually playing and hurting the Thunder while doing so. He was also hurt (and thinking back on the series it kind of showed) and the excuse to play him less and possibly take him out of the starting lineup would have been something totally rational.
You can’t blame Perkins for this. Of course he wanted to play and he’s not one to let on about an injury. He played hard and had his moments. The series just wasn’t for him.
He played 23.4 minutes per game in the Finals, scored 4.8 points per game and grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game.
Nick Collison played 15.8 minutes per game, scored 3.6 points per game and averaged 4.2 rebounds per game.
Playing Collison instead of Perkins could have easily shifted the momentum in OKC’s favor enough for them to pull out the series.
The Thunder traded for Perkins last year to help them get by the Los Angeles Lakers. I guess he helped with that some but there’s no question he did more harm than good in the final two rounds of the playoffs for the Thunder.
He has been a great guy to have on the team. He has value on a basketball court. But right now for this Thunder team, tying his name to the word “amnesty” doesn’t seem like a bad idea.