Kendrick Perkins spent the 2015-16 season washed up on the lousy Pelicans.
Meanwhile, the Thunder (his former team):
- Won 55 games
- Eliminated a Spurs team that had an even better net rating than the 73-win Warriors
- Pushed that 73-win Golden State to Game 7
Of course, Oklahoma City also blew a 3-1 lead to the Warriors in the Western Conference finals – a fact Perkins has used to poke Kevin Durant.
Perkins, via Joe Vardon of The Athletic:
“If I was on Oklahoma City, we wouldn’t have blown that 3-1 lead,” Perkins insists. “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.
At least Perkins admitted his playing ability wouldn’t have tilted the series. He would’ve been a liability on the court.
But it’s beyond pompous for Perkins to give himself even this much credit.
The Warriors were ELITE. It’s to the Thunder’s credit they played so well in the series’ first five games. Then, Golden State kicked it up to an even higher level.
It didn’t look like Oklahoma City choked. The Warriors were just that good.
Really, the sequence of results might have play an out-sized role in how we remember the series. If Golden State went up 3-1, lost twice then won Game 7, how different is the narrative? It still would’ve been a seven-game series. How much randomness played into the ordering of wins and losses?
Even if some mental breakdown caused the Thunder’s blown lead (again, I don’t think it did), was Perkins really going to make a difference from the end of the bench? Perkins was a savvy veteran. But Oklahoma City – with Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka – was battle-tested. They weren’t going to rally around a deep reserve when they’re the ones actually out there competing.
If Perkins were on the Thunder, the odds are higher of him taking a spot from an actual contributor than turning the Western Conference finals.
Perkins can believe what he wants. He’s not the first retired player to inflate his own worth.
But more than anything, I’m taking this as a sign he and Durant aren’t back on good terms.