The Oklahoma City Thunder have been soft in the middle in seasons past, which is the reason the team traded for Kendrick Perkins in the first place. The drafting of Serge Ibaka was intended to accompany that move in hopes that the big man would turn from potential into productivity with his size and instinct. So far, so good.
Chris Broussard has come out with his NBA Mid-Season Awards and Ibaka is his Defensive Player of the Year at the season’s halfway point. Given how Ibaka has been better than ever over the last few weeks, he’s likely to be even better at season’s end.
Broussard writes, “Ibaka is averaging a league-high 3.3 blocks, and he’s getting better! In February, he has blocked an unfathomable 4.8 shots a game. With Ibaka as its anchor, OKC has become one of the higher-ranked defensive clubs in the game, a far cry from last season, when the Thunder were in the middle of the pack.”