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OKC Thunder: Derek Fisher brings Oklahoma City closer to an NBA title

COMMENTARY -- Time will tell whether the acquisition of five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher brings a title to Oklahoma City. But having him on the roster at least will give the Thunder a better understanding of what it takes to win one.
by Jenni Carlson Published: March 21, 2012

“He fit in well,” reserve center Nazr Mohammed said of Fisher’s time with the second unit. “It helped that they played a lot of zone, but he’s played a long time. All the sets are the same, just different names.”

Still, if Fisher can play that well cold, imagine what he’ll do after a practice or two.

He’s more of a set-up guy in the mold of a traditional point guard, and that will be a lot easier once he has a chance to play a bit with these guys.

“I think he’ll bring stability,” reserve forward Nick Collison said after one game with Fisher. “He’s good at handling pressure, at getting into offenses ... and being able to knock down open shots.”

The Thunder hasn’t always received pressure-packed shots or excellent ball movement from its reserve point guard. After Eric Maynor injured his knee early in the season, the Thunder handed those duties to a rookie. A talented rookie. A promising rookie. But a rookie nonetheless.

I’ve been one of the first people to stand up for Reggie Jackson. Near as I can tell, he hasn’t done anything to cost the Thunder a game — and he’s surely not to blame for the roller coaster that this team has been on lately — but if this team truly wants to contend for a championship, it needs more from that position. Fisher brings more.

“He’s going to go out there and hit that open shot, be aggressive, cause problems on the defensive end,” Thunder star Kevin Durant said of what Fisher brings. “He can do a lot of different things.”

Today, the Thunder is closer to being a championship team because of the different things that Fisher can do. Yes, he’s going to be a great locker room guy, a fantastic community ambassador. But more than anything, he’s an upgrade in talent.

The Thunder made the deal and spent the money because it expects big things from him on the court.

“He’s not going to be this guy that’s going to be sitting down with our young players and saying, ‘I remember when we did this,’” Brooks said. “He has to be able to get out on the court and play and be a big part of what we do.”

Fisher needs to do more than look good in Thunder blue. He needs to make Thunder blue look good.

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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