For the past few years, Kendrick Perkins has been the starting center for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The former Boston Celtic provides the Thunder with an interior defender, a big body and a rebounder. It also provides the starting unit with some balance as Perk is far more interested in defending, rebounding and getting under the skin of opponents than he is about scoring.
However, for the first time in a little while, OKC appear to have some options at the center spot. New Zealand big man Steven Adams had a very admirable rookie season and developed a lot more quickly the many would have anticipated. The raw center out of Pitt had a great Summer League, pre-season and came along very well during the regular season.
With another full pre-season under his belt, could he pry the starting job away from Perkins?
Adams is also a big, physical presence, but he also has an added element of athleticism that Perkins hasn’t really had since his days in Boston. Adams appears to be a little quicker, has far more elevation and bounce and is just as strong. While Perk has far more experience, the role of the starting center isn’t clear cut.
Are the Thunder better off keeping Adams coming off the bench and adding some punch to the second unit? There is no doubt he will be better than most opponents second string bigs and therefore could provide OKC with an edge when the starters sit. Will Perkins’ basketball IQ, toughness and experience be better utilized against the best big men in the game?
This is the question confronting the Oklahoma City Thunder this season.
Plenty of people would start Adams in a heartbeat, claiming that Perkins is “well past his prime” – but it isn’t as simple as that. Chemistry, structure and balance always play a part in line up and rotation decisions and this will be no different.
Don’t be surprised if Kendrick Perkins is the starting center for the Thunder when the season begins. Whether he still holds that spot by the end of the season, depends largely on the development of Adams.
Who do you think the Thunder should start at the center spot in Season 2014-15?