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Oklahoma City Thunder: Derek Fisher's return a good thing as long as Thunder doesn't lean on him too much

JENNI CARLSON COMMENTARY — Bringing back Derek Fisher is a good long as the Thunder doesn't start taking away minutes from Reggie Jackson, Nick Collison, or heck, even Ronnie Brewer.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: February 25, 2013 at 10:19 pm •  Published: February 25, 2013

Go ahead and welcome back Derek Fisher with open arms. Give him his old locker at the arena and his old parking spot at the practice gym. Let him wear No. 37 again.

Or if he wants to wear No. 38 because that's how old he is now, that's cool, too.

Just don't give him Reggie Jackson's minutes.

Or Thabo Selolosha's.

Or Nick Collison's.

The Thunder brought back Fisher on Monday, signing the veteran point guard to a contract that covers the rest of this season and filling its final open roster spot. It also replicated the move it made bringing in Fisher a year ago. It's a fine decision by the Thunder; Fisher did help the team make the NBA Finals last season.

But as the playoffs went on, the Thunder leaned on him more and more.

Here's hoping that doesn't happen again.

Fisher is joining a Thunder team in a different spot than it was a year ago. When he was brought in last season, the Thunder needed him to be its back-up point guard. Eric Maynor had torn his knee, and Jackson, then a rookie, just wasn't quite giving Scott Brooks what he wanted.

Fisher filled the need for a solid back-up point guard.

Now, the Thunder has a solid back-up point guard. Jackson has played well since taking the job from Maynor. He's averaging 4.0 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.8 turnovers a game. Those aren't jaw-dropping numbers, but if you watch the Thunder, you can see that he's plenty effective with the second unit.

If the Thunder brought in Fisher to take Jackson's spot, it's a bad idea. Jackson is not only the present but also the future at back-up point guard. He needs to keep playing, to continue getting experience, and that includes being on the floor during the playoffs.

Jackson needs to get those minutes, not Fisher.

Which begs the question — whose minutes will Fisher take?

We won't know for a bit. The Thunder didn't practice Monday, so Brooks wasn't available for interviews. And frankly, whatever the coach says once he is available, we're going to want to wait and see how things play out. Where does Fisher fit into the stretch-run rotation?

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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