The struggles of veteran center Kendrick Perkins have been well documented. If you feel down on yourself and ever need a good laugh, just take a look at his stat line for the season: three points, four rebounds, and 1.5 turnovers per game with a Player Efficiency Rating of 6.0 in 20 minutes a game. I’m not usually a fan of acronyms but LOL. Sadly for the Thunder, this is no laughing matter. Perkins has started 36 games this season. He’s been so bad that the Thunder have even contemplated signing Andrew Bynum. Earlier this winter I wrote a column saying why that would be a bad idea, but that’s a different topic for a different day. If the Thunder view themselves as serious contenders, they’re going to need better production from their bigs. Even with a healthy Russell Westbrook, a team loaded with bigs like the Memphis Grizzles can be dangerous against the 2011-2012 Western Conference Champs.
The Grizzles manhandled OKC last spring and if Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are healthy I see no reason for them not to do the same this year. So how do you go about adding some size? The solution to that problem might be right in front of Scott Brooks and his staff. Here is my petition to try and get Perry Jones III more minutes.
The Thunder need size, no doubt about it. Jones’ 6’11” 235-pound frame is not by any means “big” by NBA standards. He does have height, which doesn’t hurt. The second year man out of Baylor has yet to find his role in the rotation. He has a skill set that many 6’11” players don’t have and coach Brooks might have to start utilizing him more. After not making a single 3-pointer his rookie year, Jones is shooting 39 percent from downtown so far this winter. With the Thunder struggling heavily on the offensive end without Westbrook, maybe its time to see if Jones’ 3-point shot is real or just an illusion caused by the small sample size. Playing PJ3 more often might hurt in the rebounding department as he only averages five rebounds per 36 minutes, but for a team that ranks first in rebounding that might be worth the hit.
Here is the surprising stat of the day: The Thunder rank 23rd in the NBA in made 3-pointers per game. Maybe playing PJ3 more will help spread the floor more. As of right now, he has logged more than 20 minutes in just seven contests. By no means am I saying he should be on the floor for 20 minutes a night, but his 11 minutes per game is a tad low. I suggest taking some of Perkins’ minutes and giving them to PJ3. I’m curious to see what he can do if he is given 13-17 minutes a night. Some consistent minutes will lead to more consistent performances. With Westbrook gone for the time being it is the perfect time for the Thunder to experiment with different lineups, so maybe give PJ3 a chance.