Season in Review: #5 Kendrick Perkins
By Nick Gallo | Thunder Basketball Writer
After every season, there comes an assessment of successes and failures, amounting to a type of evaluation to help the team understand where it can improve heading into the following year.
As one of the team’s leaders and most powerful locker room voices, Kendrick Perkins has a unique perspective on helping the Thunder transition from season-to-season. He believes in the group the Thunder has in place, and despite falling to the Spurs, Perkins believes there are just some minor mental adjustments the Thunder can make to help capitalize on their physical tools and gifts.
The Thunder’s roster is athletic, talented and well-balanced. It just comes down to executing on the details of the game that makes the difference between winning and losing in the playoffs.
“I feel optimistic about next year, but obviously we all have a lot of work to do to get better,” Perkins said. “The biggest thing with our team is our mentality. In my opinion, we had more than enough talent to win a championship this year. We just fell short because of the mental things that we did wrong. That just comes from studying the game, watching film and going and getting knowledge from other people who are around.”
Perkins’ role as the starting center has been one he’s held for both the Thunder and Boston Celtics in his career, and has started every postseason game for his teams since the 2007-08 season. This season, he and Steven Adams formed a powerful combination at the center position, and Perkins wants both he and Adams to keep improving over the offseason. This summer, Perkins plans to work extremely hard to be at his peak physical condition in order to be the best he can be next year.
“This offseason is going to be the biggest offseason of my career,” Perkins said. “I definitely have to come back in better shape and try to get back to the basketball that I played in Boston. That’s my goal.”
A long-time veteran, Perkins sometimes doubles as basketball philosopher for this Thunder squad. He has an NBA Championship to his name and has seen some of the best basketball players in NBA history operate at a high level. Heading into next season, he hopes that he and his Thunder teammates can take a leap forward mentally and with their habits.
Building brick-by-brick and playing the right way starting in November all the way through April can pay dividends during the postseason. If the Thunder can make the right basketball play and build total trust on the roster throughout the season, it will be second nature by the time the playoffs come around.
“That’s learning how to play the right way for 82 games and not try to turn on this “on switch” in the Playoffs,” Perkins explained. “What you do in January affects how you play in April, May and June. You have to develop that trust early.”
“We have to come into the season playing agenda-free basketball and it’ll take care of itself,” Perkins continued. “If you’re trying to take it to the next level, being all-in, that’s the key.”