Oklahoma City Thunder: Tough call on Derek Fisher
I’m never short on Thunder opinions. But I’m torn on this Derek Fisher question. Should the Thunder pursue the veteran point guard? I tend to think not, but I could be wrong.
Reggie Jackson clearly has not hurt the Thunder, as a rookie thrust into the fire pit after Eric Maynor’s early-season injury. But also clearly, Jackson is not a stellar replacement for Russell Westbrook.
Would that hurt the Thunder in the playoffs? Maybe not. In the playoffs, minutes go up for the stars. Westbrook won’t be playing 36 minutes against the Spurs or the Lakers. He’ll be playing 42 or 44 minutes. There is less travel, so fatigue is not a huge factor.
Still, Westbrook won’t play 48 minutes. I’m pretty sure. So those five, six minutes a game when Westbrook sits, can the Thunder afford to play Jackson? His defense is mostly acceptable, in small doses, and his offense comes and goes. Jackson’s shot selection is suspect, his decision-making not much better. But Jackson is athletic and can get to the basket, he occasionally pops a clutch 3-pointer. And sometimes, James Harden initiates the offense anyway.
Fisher would absolutely bring an air of class to the Thunder, not that the Thunder is a bunch of knuckleheads. But few players in NBA history have played in more big games than Fisher. Fisher has played 209 playoff games in his career. It never hurts to have such an old pro sitting on your bench, resting in your locker room or manning your point guard slot for a few minutes.
But from a pure basketball standpoint, what exactly does Fisher bring? No defense. None at all. He wouldn’t have to be matched against a Tony Parker or Ty Lawson or some point guard who can make you pay for being old; Scotty Brooks can rotate around that. But Fisher’s defense still is long gone.
Offensively, Fisher can get a team lined up, and he won’t throw away the ball much. But he can’t really push it in transition. Would that help the Thunder? I don’t think so. If Harden is on the court, the Thunder needs to push the ball.
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