The Difference Maker?

Posted by By at 15 April, at 19 : 31 PM Print

During last year’s Playoff’s, The Oklahoma City Thunder took it to the Lakers.  They surprised the NBA world by pushing the Lakers to a grueling 6 game series where Kevin Durant helped establish the Thunder as a legitimate contender and one of the league’s most feared teams.

After finishing this season at 55-27 and fourth in the Western Conference standings, the Thunder are favorites to defeat the Denver Nuggets in their 1stround matchup.  The Thunder have silenced any naysayer who may have felt that last season was nothing more then a fluke.  They have won in style, and boast two of the leagues most dynamic players in Durant and Russell Westbrook. 

The missing element, according to most observers appeared to be the rugged defensive aggression that is needed to take the next step in becoming an NBA Champion.  The Thunder are fortunate enough to have Thabo Sefolosha, who is one of the leagues top defenders and is the go-to guy on defense to cover any opposing team’s star wing player.  His defense, however only takes them so far.  What was missing was a quality big man who could control the tempo on defense down low and immobilize opposing teams Centers and control the glass.  This all changed on a Trade-Deadline day deal with the Boston Celtics that had Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson come to town in exchange for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.  On paper, this trade looked pretty confusing.  Why would the Thunder mess with a recipe that works?  Why would the Celtics trade away their Low-Post defensive stopper?

These are all questions that many were asking, but each had simple answers.  The Celtics were having difficulty signing Perkins to a contract extension, and feared losing him to free agency with nothing in return.  The Thunder although extremely successful needed some help on the Boards and a defensive stud who could matchup against the Big’s of the West.  Apparently, both GM’s thought this deal would be mutually beneficial, but if you ask Danny Ainge how he feel’s about the trade after the Celts finished the year 10-11, I’m sure he’ll admit to some regret.  The Thunder on the other hand have found themselves the possible missing piece to their puzzle.

NBA analysts are calling for a 1st round victory for The Thunder and a most likely exit in the 2ndround if they end up playing the Lakers or Spurs.  What’s interesting to note is how dominating Kendrick Perkins and The Thunder have been since his arrival in OKC.  After returning from a knee injury on March 14, The Thunder have gone 13-4 with all 4 losses being 8 points or less.   To call a quick exit in the 2nd round may be foolish as The Thunder may find a groove and run it all the way to The Finals.

What is also to consider is the impact in the locker room Perkins is and will have as they drive through the playoffs.  It’s interesting to take note that although he wasn’t playing, Perkins was in the locker room as a voice and presence in Boston up until he was dealt to Oklahoma City.  Don’t overlook for a second the value Perkins will bring to OKC during the Playoffs as they are still a very young inexperienced team.  With Perkins’ leadership and outspoken ways, Durant will have a strong voice to stand by his side to rally the troops.

It may appear that the trade is very 1-sided and the Thunder have come out victorious in the deal that brought Perkins to town.  This may be true, but it was just the Regular Season.  The real test is still to come.  What value will Perkins and Green have on their respective ball clubs?  Kendrick Perkins was irked when he found out about the deal but has found a home in Oklahoma City where he now feels comfortable and is making a difference.  His leadership abilities and defensive toughness are both qualities Sam Presti was hoping to get when he pulled the trigger on the deal…and by the looks of things, he found his man!

The Bowse's Word

Related Posts

2 Comments

  1. AC CHillz, 6 years ago Reply

    Perks is surely missed down here in Boston!!

  2. MarkS, 6 years ago Reply

    Hes not the difference maker, hes just the big man they needed. This allows them to put Ibaka back at the 4!!!


Post Your Comment