Here’s what Thunder coach Scott Brooks had to say to reporters today about Derek Fisher.
Q: Have you gotten a sense of how Derek is from a physical standpoint?
A: I’ve only seen him today, a little bit yesterday. But good. He always keeps himself in great shape. He hasn’t played in an NBA game in a while but he knows how to play the game. He’s an incredible leader. He knows the game inside and out. He knows what we do. He was with us for last season and throughout the playoffs so he knows how we run things and how we operate as an organization. We’re excited to have him.
Q: What’s his role on this team?
A: To be a Thunder player. To do what we do. If he gets his number called, go out there and play hard and play for his team. We have 15 guys that are all capable of being players on the floor, but we all know that you can’t play 15 guys. We’ve only had him in today’s practice. We’ll see how it goes the next couple of days and go from there.
Q: Last year, you brought him in and he took Reggie Jackson’s spot. Will that same thing happen this year, or do you bring Fisher in as the third stringer?
A: Well, we bring him in to give us some good experience. He’s been a champion many times over. He gives us leadership. Does he take spots on the floor, minutes from other guys? To have a good team you have to have sacrifices from everybody. I don’t know what they all will entail at the moment but, definitely, he will play.
Q: When you talk to him, are you specific about what you’re looking for from him, and is it the exact same thing as a year ago?
A: Well every year is different. We’re a different team. Things are different. But one thing we know that we’re going to get from him is a competitor, a winner, a guy that’s going to do everything for the team. And you can never have enough guys like that. We have a group of players that understand how valuable that is to our organization and he’s been there before and he’s been with us before. And we had a great run last year. There’s no guarantee that we’re going to go back there. We’re just trying everything that we can to put ourselves in a position to continue to improve, and he’s going to be a player that can help us improve as the season goes on.
Q: How concerned are you about destroying Reggie’s confidence by bringing Fish back?
A: Well, that’s hypothetical. I said minutes are going to be had. Minutes are probably going to be taken away from many guys, and not just because of Derek Fisher. But as the season goes on, sometimes the rotations become smaller. But in order to have a good team, you have to have guys that are committed to the team. And sometimes those things happen. But there’s nothing etched in stone right now. We have a good team, but we still have to figure out ways to improve our team now. But we have 15 guys. But it’s good to have options, and we definitely have options.Q: How much better is Reggie than a year ago now?
A: He’s improved. He’s definitely improved. And he should. He works hard. He’s a guy that’s going to continue to get better. But it’s about how we do things as a group. It’s really not about one particular guy. We brought Derek in because he gave us the best option available. We saw the impact that he had on our team last year, and not just on the court but off the court. He’s a guy that’s been through some great experiences, and he’s seen it all. You can’t pick another player that has seen everything that he has. If you can, tell me about him. But he’s one guy that has seen everything, and he gives our guys valuable experience.
Q: Is this a move you’ve been thinking about for a while, or just after Eric Maynor was traded? How long have you been looking at Derek?
A: When we traded Eric, we had to come up with another option for a point guard. When we had Eric, we had three point guards. Not too many teams can have four. When I played, there was only two, and some people said there was only one on the team that I would be on. But he gives us a great option. The thing that I always say about him is he’s a winner. He’s a winner on and off the floor.
Q: Are Fisher and Brewer going to be active tomorrow?
A: That’s a good question. Ask me tomorrow.
Q: You had said that Derek definitely would play, and I assume you meant meaningful minutes by that. Do you have that same assumption with Ronnie Brewer, that you’d like to see him play in important stretches of the game?
A: They both are going to get opportunities to play. Whether it’s right away tomorrow, I don’t know that yet. But they both give us another option to throw on the court to make winning plays. They both make winning plays.
Q: Do you want to come up with a set rotation, or do you want to use these guys situationally now that you have so many different pieces?
A: I mean, we’ll see how the games play out. But there’s opportunities to play. I’ve always liked guys getting opportunities to be consistent with their playing time so they know, not guaranteeing it, that this is an opportunity for me to go in and make an impact on the game. But minutes are always hard in this league. It’s one of the hardest things to do is to make it and then make it and get minutes. They’re hard to get. They’re hard to keep. But we have a competitive group that we’re going to have a lot of options and we’ll see as the season plays on and see who gets the minutes.