So, in my opinion, whatever Perk does this season, he's screwed as far as fan's expectations are concerned. They want somebody who's going to wow them on the court or impress them with their ethic, and Kendrick Perkins is neither of those.A lot of fans are impressed by offense or spectacular defense. Most don't appreciate the blue collar player who does the little things that most fans don't notice. But those little things are often what are the difference between winning and losing for their team.
On the Thunder they have some spectacular shooters in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden along with a few others. Perk is not a shooter. He can score around the basket, but mostly garbage baskets cleaning up a broken play. But, Perk is as important to the offense as if he were a scorer. Perk is one of the best at setting picks. He sets some bone rattling screens that get his shooters open. Most eyes are on the shooter in those plays. But Perk is there, giving his body to screen off the defender to get his shooter open.
Perk also won't lead the team in rebounding, but when he's on the court, his team will get more rebounds. He's great for carving out space under the basket and boxing out, which in itself is a lost art these days. He moves the opposing team's rebounders out so the Thunder rebounders can grab the ball. But many fans will just see Perk down there and someone else getting the rebound.
Also, it is no coincidence that the Thunder's defense improved considerably when Perk joined the team. They are allowing less points and holding teams to a lower percentage. That's Perk's influence on the team. He brings toughness and he is vocal on defense, making sure that players are where they are supposed to be on defense. But of course, the casual fan doesn't catch that either.
But, the key to Perk's success is that coaches see those types of things that a player does. And coaches know how much every team needs a player who does those things. And fans who look beyond the stats also know that what Perk does for the team is just as important as the players who fill up the stat sheet. And what makes Perk so special is that he loves what he does and never minds not getting the spotlight or the headlines. He's happy to work in the trenches and the only thing that matters to him is the wins and that's very rare in this league of superstars and stat mongers.
And the last paragraph of Zeb's preview is also very good:
He might not exactly be the ideal guy to guard Chris Bosh, but there are few I'd rather have banging down low with Marc Gasol, Dwight Howard, and DeAndre Jordan.I wholeheartedly agree. Perk is so much more important to this team than most fans will ever realize but against those big centers, it's very evident how important the job he does on the team is.
You can check out their whole preview here.