Kendrick Perkins sounds more agitated and angry than usual these days. While his mean mug is always curled up in time for the regular season, it appears he is already wearing it around right now. We have not even hit training camp yet.
When asked about his thoughts on the Dwight Howard addition for the rival Lakers — a question Kevin Durant answered by saying he does not really care — the Oklahoma City Thunder big man offered the following:
I knew the hype was going to be over there on that end and all that. But I'm glad the attention is off us because we're the type that likes to put our hard hats on and do stuff and keep it under the radar. And at the end of the day, when you look at the box score, Oklahoma won. That's the way we like to keep it.
We are the Western Conference champs. So at the end of the day, we're not chasing nobody except for the ring. We're chasing Miami to get a championship. It's no guarantee who is going to be where. But we earned the Western champs so we're not chasing the Lakers, we're chasing a championship and that's what it's about.
There is irony in the idea that Perkins said he prefers to "keep it under the radar" and then went on to discount the Lakers as even an obstacle in his pursuit of an NBA championship this season.
Regardless, Perkins will have the opportunity to prove he is worth all those dollars he is earning in Oklahoma City next summer. In a potential Western Conference Finals match-up with Dwight Howard the Lakers, he is going to have to find a way to slow Howard down.
But can he?
He did slow Dwight down some in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals back when each center was repping for Boston and Orlando respectively. He earned a reputation as being the best defender against Dwight Howard in the league, and a subsequent payday in Oklahoma City came as a result. But how much did Kevin Garnett have to do with all that?
Over the last couple seasons, it is my opinion that Garnett did more to help Perkins earn that reputation playing alongside him than anybody ever gave the Big Ticket credit for.
Kendrick can prove all that wrong this season though. From the sounds of things, he plans to.
Image: SB Nation, Marc Serota/Getty Images/Zimbio