If you want to find the most obvious reason that the Oklahoma City Thunder were unable to advance past the second round of the playoffs, your search will end with the words "Russell Westbrook." But Westbrook's absence wasn't the only thing holding the Thunder back. They also had a much bigger problem—literally if not figuratively—in Kendrick Perkins. Big, terrible Kendrick Perkins.
Perkins played in all 11 of the Thunder's playoff games, averaging 19 minutes per game. In those 11 games, Perkins actually finished with a negative player efficiency rating. His -0.7 mark is the worst PER to have ever been posted in the playoffs by a player who saw 200 minutes or more of floor time. That level uselessness is astoundingly hard to achieve. Jason Collins, whose primary skill was his ability to foul people, has the second-worst PER on that list with 1.8. Nobody has ever gone into negative territory before Perk.
And it's not as if Perkins's -0.7 is misleading in any way. He was brought to Oklahoma City to be a rebounder, a defensive stopper, and a shot-blocker. He did none of those things. Perkins blocked just five shots, committed 24 turnovers while scoring just 24 points, and finished with two more rebounds (41) than he had personal fouls (39).
Perkins wasn't rendered completely useless by circumstance, either. Houston's fast-paced attack wasn't something he is suited to deal with, but post-operating giants like the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are precisely the kinds of players that Perkins is meant to neutralize with his defense. Gasol, Perkins's counterpart at center, averaged 19 points and eight rebounds per game in the Grizzlies-Thunder series.
Perkins's performance carries even more stink given the fact that Kevin Durant was left to struggle through two series as the team's only capable scorer. You know who could have helped Durant carry that load? Jeff Green, also known as the guy who was traded away for Perkins before transforming into one of the Boston Celtics' go-to scorers.
I don't know if Sad Perk is still a relevant meme, but now seems like as good a time as any to bring it back. Because, man, Kendrick Perkins is just sad.