"If you didn't watch our games, you wouldn't know how important he is to our team," Durant says.The article talks about how you can measure just about anything using stats. Except the value of a player like Perk.
Yet, there's an outlier in Oklahoma City, a player with an impact as big as his towering stature but with a statistical footprint that's almost nonexistent.
Even if you watch, you have to pay attention, because while Perkins is easy to spot, the way he changes games isn't.
Each time an opposing big man is having an "off night," notice the defender hounding him on every shot and rebound.I love reading this because I've been saying the same thing for years. Perk is a rare breed in today's NBA. He's a very unselfish player who puts team first and doesn't care about stats. He's all about winning. A lot of players say they are all about winning but they want their stats too. Perk is just as happy setting a screen as he is scoring the points. or boxing out so his teammate can get a rebound. And Perk is a winner, make no mistake about it. The Celtics won when he was with them. They have been struggling since the trade to try to fill the hole he left. And since he joined the Thunder, they've been winning too. He makes teams better. There's no doubt about it. And he's a real honest to goodness enforcer in the mold of Jim Loscutoff. They are even rarer than truly unselfish players.
Each time a Thunder player endures a hard foul, notice the refrigerator-sized teammate who levels the accused opponent.
And each time Durant, Russell Westbrook or James Harden curls around a screen and finds an acre of wide-open shooting space, notice the equilibrium-rattling pick that set him free.
"I wouldn't mess with him," Brooks said. "The NBA needs more of that 'it's-about-us-against-them' mentality. And that's what he brings to the table every day." Perkins is known for his signature scowl, which looks as though he grimaced so much as a child that, as he was probably warned would happen, his face stuck that way. "I didn't know he had a smile until he got to Oklahoma City," Durant says.And Perk is a team player. He makes the players around him better because of his unselfishness and his leadership. I remember back to his early years in Boston before he was even a starter. Paul Pierce was slacking off in a game and Perk called him out for it in a huddle. And Pierce listened to him. He has that kind of presence on a team.
His basketball IQ is in the NBA's upper echelon and he's a savvy air-traffic controller on the court. His teammates listen, too, especially because he has a championship ring, earned with Boston in 2008.And those are reasons Perk has been my favorite player since his rookie season. He is a hard worker and he is a leader and he is a team player. And I'll take that on my team any day.
To them, he preaches that it's more fun to lose yourself in the camaraderie of winning than to lose and have big numbers. As an example of that mind-set, Perkins put it like this:
"Can you name me five players off the 2004 All-Star team?"
The reporter scratched his head.
"Can you name me who won the championship in 2004?"
Detroit, the reporter answered.
"My point exactly."