With the Oklahoma City Thunder on a five game winning streak, and looking very dangerous after defeating both the Wizards and the Heat on the road by a combined 38 points since Perk’s OKC debut on Monday, it is not inconceivable that this could be the year that Perkins helps Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant bring the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals. While the West is undeniably the better conference, and is currently stacked with elite playoff-bound teams, the acquisition of Perkins has addressed the Thunder’s most glaring flaw in their lack of size down low. Perkins will continue to be a difference maker on his new team just like he was in Boston, and despite his lack of eye-popping individual numbers, his physicality, tough defense, and huge presence in the paint makes this young, athletic, and extremely talented team much more dangerous in a playoff series than before. Furthermore, the age of the Western Conference leading Spurs is finally starting to show, and the Dallas Mavericks seek to continue their legacy of collapsing early on in the playoffs, which leaves the always dangerous Lakers and the surging Thunder as potential Western Conference finalists.

And when I say surging, I mean “Serge-ing.” Perkins makes this team significantly more capable of dominating a playoff series, and takes the pressure off big man dunk extraordinaire Serge Ibaka of being the “big guy” in the paint. Ibaka can now revert back to playing his game as an explosive asset to this already very explosive team, without giving up the size advantage to opposing big men down low. As a result, Ibaka’s role as a help defender has also increased, and he has picked up 11 blocks in the past two games since Perk’s return. K.D. and the Thunder were already capable of scoring in bunches and dominating on the offensive end, but they now have the size and athleticism to dominate on the defensive end as well, as they held Miami to just 85 points last night. Perkins truly is a difference maker, and his defensive presence will continue to benefit the Thunder just like it did with Boston. So… what if the Celtics had to face him in the NBA Finals?

While the trade almost certainly increased OKC’s chances of making a run to the finals while simultaneously harming Boston’s, a Celtics vs. Thunder finals is still entirely possible as long as the Celtics can pick up their play in April the way they did last postseason. It would be an emotional moment, seeing Perk fifteen pounds lighter and in his blue Thunder uniform taking on Shaq and his former team, and he would likely be more motivated than anybody else to come away with another ring. Don’t forget about little man Nate Robinson either, whose energy and scoring ability make him a solid fit for OKC’s explosive and athletic offense. Nevertheless, we won’t get to see Perk or Nate playing against the Celtics this season unless they do face off in the finals, and by adding a big man with as much presence and dedication as Perkins has, this could potentially be a big year for Oklahoma City. Until then, we should keep up the support for Nenad Krstic, and keep cheering for Big Perk.

Jon Jacobson 3/17/2011 12:41:00 PM Edit
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5 Responses so far.

  1. I'd have to cheer for the Celtics but I'd also cheer for Perk and I'd be very happy for whichever team won.

  2. bballee says:

    At this point I don't concede that the Perk trade harmed the Celtics chances to win the Championship. I think this may be one of those trades that made both teams better. Certainly Perk provides a needed and missing component for OKC. Similarly Green and Krstic fill needs for the Celtics. If we see Perk again:
    1) Probably the trade helped both teams.
    2) We are playing for the Championship.
    3) Green will be a real help in conserving Pierce and in limiting (Granger/Iguodala/Jackson/Melo), Turkoglu, LeBron, and/or Deng.
    4) Krystic's contributions will have helped us into, and I believe through, the post season.
    5) The healthy bodies brought in will have kept Boston from struggling through March with only 5 players still walking (and April with only 5 players crawling).
    6) Doc will have to live with struggling to decide which players to make inactive rather than which player is healed enough to suit up as a 10th man.

  3. Phil says:

    Really nice post because you did a good job explaining exactly how Perk gives the other players on OKC (espcially Ibaka) an opportunity to focus on the best part of their game while he does the dirty work down low and on defense - as he did so well with Boston. This is what still bothers me about the trade - that we now have to find more people who can play 2 or more roles simultaneously. But I agree with commenter Ballee - no way do I concede the trade entirely to OKC. I think it made the Celts a better team THIS year (injured players were traded), and Nenad brings an offensive rebounding presence they haven't had in years. Offense is looking spotty lately but who knows whether that's a problem - we won't know that until the playoffs. So yeah, think it's an even trade at this point.

  4. i like the thunder before, and i like them a lot now that they got Perk. OKC and BOS in the Finals? would still want the Celtics to win, but it won't tear my heart as much if it goes the other way.

  5. gosia says:

    God forbid. But I would OBVIOUSLY go for Celtics, and be equally heartbroken if they lost, can't imagine it being any different. As much as I love Perk, and wish him all the best, it's all about the green. Plus, I still somehow feel with a weird calm certainty that Perk is gonna be back in celtics uniform.

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