25 February 2011
The Oklahoma City Thunder made some noise at the NBA Trade Deadline yesterday by getting bigger in the middle and improving on defense. Ultimately, the day breaks down as follows when you take a look at both deals that brought the Thunder some much needed size in the middle.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER RECEIVE: C Kendrick Perkins, G Nate Robinson, C Nazr Mohammed
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER TRADES AWAY: F Jeff Green, C Nenad Krstic, F. D.J. White, G Morris Peterson
Perkins and Green are the two centerpieces involved in yesterday's deals. Both have expiring contracts after this season, as does Mohammed, while Robinson is under contract for another season.
But this move was not made for the next couple of seasons. It was to send a message to the rest of teams in the Wsetern Conference that the Thunder are ready to win an NBA championship.
It has been no secret the Oklahoma City has struggled on defense this year. Green was a decent third scoring option, but although he insists that he is a power forward, he simply cannot guard other elite power forwards in the game. You don't really have to look any further than how he and the team performed against Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies this season. Green simply wasn't strong enough.
If Perkins can stay healthy - and that has been a big if - he instantly upgrades the defense and gives the team a legitimate presence inside. He will not be counted on to score, as there enough options around him who can handle that aspect. He will be able to help out defend some of the big bodies in the west who are offensively proficient, including Randolph, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Dirk Nowitzki and others.
Robinson will provide a spark coming off of the bench, as long as he can learn his role and fit into this system and play how Scott Brooks wants him to play.
Mohammed will give the Thunder some decent minutes in a reserve role behind Perkins.
At first, it seemed like a head scratcher for both teams, but it does make some sense for both. Although, the reaction in Boston has not been nearly as positive as it has been in Oklahoma City. Neither team was expected to re-sign Perkins or Green after this season, but there is no doubt that if he can remain on the floor, that Perkins can have a far greater impact in the playoffs.
The Thunder are certainly hopeful, and they are ready to win.
* Make sure to follow Kelley on Twitter @RobKelley24...
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