HOUSTON – Kendrick Perkins is known for many things, along them are strong opinions, vast knowledge of all things basketball, and giving back. The ESPN NBA analyst and Houston resident joined KPRC Sports Reporter Vanesa Richardson for a one-on-one on Sports Sunday.
VR: Let’s start by talking NBA finals- who do you think will win it?
Kendrick Perkins: I’m going to make a bold prediction right now and say the Suns will win the NBA championship.
I’ll ask you about something I know you feel strongly about; “Superteams” in the NBA. What are you seeing from your vantage point?
This year has changed the whole narrative on super teams, especially Chris Paul. You take him for example. He could have gone anywhere. When he left Oklahoma, he could have asked to have been bought out, a buyout from Sam Preston, but he chose to go to Phoenix, and that’s the thing I appreciate about him so much, and this is why I think the Phoenix Suns’ run is so special. He went down there and he embraced a group of young guys who were drafted into the organization, and he took them to the finals.
Since we’re in Houston, let’s talk Rockets. I think everybody knew when Westbrook and Harden left that there would be holes on the roster, but this was a tough season. What are the Rockets missing and what do they need?
I just want the Rockets to build from the ground up. I think they have a young star in Kevin Porter Jr., I think they have to draft well. Thank God that they got a top-three pick. I think Jalen Green is the guy for them, in my opinion, he and Kevin Porter going together would be a bright future for the Houston Rockets. And, look, they have picks all the way to 2099 for what they got back for James Harden and Victor (Oladipo) and all those moves that they made. So, now, it’s on the front office to make sure that they do their job and draft well.
What do you like about Stephen Silas as a coach?
He’s one of the best as far as putting guys in a position to be successful offensively. That’s been his reputation throughout the course of the league. He’s a guy that doesn’t shortcut anything. He’s a magician when it comes to the offensive side of basketball. With Stephen Silas, the thing I love about his approach is that he’s a players’ coach. Players gravitate towards him.
Last but not least, let’s talk about your new TBL team, the Beaumont Panthers. You’re kind of bringing a team back home. Why was this important to you?
It’s very important for the simple fact that people think when you own a team or when you invest in something like this, that it’s a money grab when it’s really not. It’s a league to help guys actually grow, and I think it was important to me to come back to my hometown because, like today, we have 40 guys working out, and they’re all from the 409 area. I want to make sure I at least try to give them an opportunity to make it because there’s still a lot of young guys in this gym today with a lot of talent who are just not getting a fair look. And I think this is what this league is all about.