Plenty of story lines are in play when the Thunder face the Celtics, as they will Friday night in Boston, due to the 2010 deal between the two teams that saw Kendrick Perkins and Jeff Green trade places.
Both players were thought at the time to be untouchable members of each team’s core, with Perkins being the bruiser on a championship-contender, and Green being a piece that meshed perfectly with the rest of OKC’s young talent, who was on its journey to become one.
Green doesn’t seem that interested in facing his former team, preferring instead to focus on the opportunity he has in Boston. And Perkins? He just wants to have some fun with it.
From John Rohde of the Oklahoman:
One of Rondo’s closest friends is Thunder center and ex-teammate Kendrick Perkins, who has defended the other team’s point guard on occasion this season in hopes of taking opponents out of their normal offensive flow.
Asked if Perkins was going to check Rondo tonight, Brooks smiled and said: “Absolutely. Perk is begging me to do that. That would be fun. I’m sure the fans would love to see Perk getting down in his defensive stance, pressuring the ball. I don’t know how fun that would be for me watching it.”
We’ll see how serious both Perkins and Brooks are about trying to make this happen.
While Perkins has defended point guards this season, Rondo is far above average, and would likely have his way in that matchup, while making sure to toy with Perkins in the process.
You could see it happening on a switch off of a high pick and roll or something, but lining up Perkins to check Rondo in a straight up man-to-man defensive situation — even for just a single possession — would be basketball suicide.
There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.
The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.
Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.
– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.
If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.
They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.
All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.