Kendrick Perkins has played for four teams in NBA history, but he only really ever talks about two. Of course, we know about the infamous Boston Celtics, who won the 200 NBA Championship.
But he also likes to talk about the Oklahoma City Thunder. In five seasons with the Thunder, he only averaged 4.2 assists — but says that had he stayed with the team through 2016, they would not have blown their 3-1 lead to the Golden State Warriors.
“If I was on Oklahoma City, we wouldn’t have blown that 3-1 lead, there’s no way in hell we would have blown that. I’m not saying because of me playing, I am saying just my locker room presence.“
-Kendrick Perkins on the 2016 Thunder
(Via The Athletic) pic.twitter.com/wEIEPgy9tt
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) April 22, 2020
Of course, we have no way to prove his theory correct now. It is true that the Thunder seemingly collapsed after Game 4. Nobody really knows how or what happened, but it’s known as one of the greatest playoff failures in modern history.
The Warriors would go on to the Finals, and then give up a 3-1 lead of their own against the Cavs. It’s hard to imagine Perkins making that much of a difference for the Thunder, though.
He was out of his prime and getting a limited number of minutes on the court. Off the floor, we all know it was Russ and Durant who were the leaders of that team.
But, who knows, maybe we’re all just undervaluing the leadership of Perk.