|Perkins is holding his ground on starting. (Getty Images)|
The Oklahoman ran a piece Monday on Hasheem Thabeet and how he's adjusting to life with the Thunder, as the first-round bust tries to round into shape to be a quality rotation player. As part of the conversation, the newspaper asked Kendrick Perkins for his thoughts on the subject. I'd really like to know what, specifically, they asked him, because Perkins went pure NaCl on them:
“We're all teammates, but at the end of the day, the center position over here is mine and that's the way we're going to keep it,” said Perkins, wearing a brace on his left wrist. “Any other way, backup minutes or whatever they want to go about, that's their problem. Once I hit the court, I'm going to make it known — and it's going to be known — that that's mine.
“It's no beef, but at the end of the day, that's what it is.”
OK, then, Perk. Easy, big fella. No one's trying to take your starting spot, least of all Hasheem Thabeet.
Couple things here, though.
1. It's not Perkins' decision. He can talk about how he's the starter all he wants. Scott Brooks makes the starting lineup. This is not a democracy. Superstars always can have an impact on coaching decisions; Kendrick Perkins is not a superstar.
2. Brooks might have to bring Perkins off the bench at times this season. The league has gone to more of a small-ball approach, and if the Thunder have any success with Serge Ibaka at the five, they'll want to be able to deploy that lineup when applicable.
3. Perkins had a lot of problems last season. His offense creates a sizable black hole for the Thunder. Defensively, he's only really useful against bigger opponents. With the league going to faster and smaller lineups, his usefulness decreases. Dwight Howard? Absolutely. Tim Duncan? Sure thing. But Perkins isn't versatile enough to demand that he always be on the floor.
But it makes you wonder if Brooks were to need to make some adjustments, how Perkins would handle it. Indications are: not well.