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OKC Thunder needs a Derek Fisher plan

COMMENTARY — Thunder would be wise to bring back the veteran point guard with an eye toward keeping him fresh for the playoffs.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: July 13, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: July 12, 2013

Summer league is done for the Thunder, and over the past week, we learned all sorts of interesting stuff.

And not just that they apparently have championship hats for the summer league winner.

We learned that Reggie Jackson could be pretty darn special. Ditto for Jeremy Lamb.

We learned that Daniel Orton is much improved but that the center may struggle to make the roster because rookie Steven Adams is going to play some this season.

We learned, too, that the Thunder desperately needs a third-string point guard. While Dwight Buycks looked promising, he looked so good that Toronto signed him to a deal, and while Lamb, DeAndre Liggins and others attempted to run the point when Jackson sat, no one proved himself worthy. Too unsure. Too inconsistent.

Paging Derek Fisher.

The Thunder very well might've had designs on putting the veteran point guard on the Roger Clemens plan. No, not that plan. We're talking about the one where he sits out the first part of the season, signs late and saves his legs for the postseason.

Worked out pretty well last year.

Two seasons ago when Fisher joined the Thunder at the midway point, he'd been playing a bunch. He started 43 games for the Lakers before he signed with the Thunder.

Even though Fisher played in only 20 regular-season games for the Thunder the rest of the year, he was clearly worn down by the time the playoffs rolled around. He averaged 6.3 points and shot 37.5 percent from 3-point range in the postseason, which were among some of his lowest marks as a pro.

This past season was different.

Fisher joined the Thunder after starting only nine games for the Mavericks. He played in 24 regular-season games for the Thunder, and the difference in the postseason was obvious.

His averages: 8.7 points and 47.1 percent from 3.

Fisher also shot 45.7 percent from the floor, his best playoff average in a decade. Without Russell Westbrook, the Thunder was in desperate need of offense, and it got it from a most unlikely source.

Clearly, resting the first half of the season was a boon for the 38-year-old.

The Thunder could have a fresh Fish for the playoffs again this season, but it will likely take a different approach. For starters, the Thunder will probably need to sign Fisher before the season.

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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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