New Thunder arrivals Derek Fisher and Ronnie Brewer will soon have a chance to face teams for which they previously played.
OKC plays the Los Angeles Lakers next Tuesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Fisher won his five NBA championships while with the Lakers (1996-2004; 2007-2012).
The Thunder has two games remaining against Utah, where Fisher played in 2006-07. On March 17, OKC will play at Dallas, where Fisher played earlier this season before suddenly departing in late December. On April 11, the Thunder plays at Golden State, where Fisher played in 2004-06.
Brewer barely missed out playing Sunday night against the Chicago Bulls, where he played from 2010-12. Like Fisher, Brewer also played for Utah (2006-10). On March 20, OKC plays at Memphis, where Brewer played briefly in 2009-10.
TREAD ON ME
Although Fisher has five NBA championship rings and is six years older than anyone on the Thunder roster, he said he's the one who treaded lightly in the locker room when he joined the team on March 21 last year.
“I spoke a lot last year about not walking in here assuming these guys are supposed to respect me,” Fisher recalled. “I think respect is earned and I wanted this group of guys to get a feel for who I am and what I do before I expected them to be able to somewhat follow my example as a leader in some ways. It was more so me treading lightly. They had jokes and things to laugh about right away. They were 22, 23 years old. Everything's a joke. So this year coming in, I think for me, I don't feel as I have to tread lightly.”
With the OKC roster now at the full allotment of 15 players, Fisher and Brewer must be one of the team's 13 players to be activated in order to play.
Will Fisher and Brewer be activated for Wednesday's 7 p.m. game against the New Orleans Hornets at The Peake?
“That's a good question,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said after Tuesday's practice before adding, “Ask me tomorrow.
“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.”
New teammates Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin called Brewer one of the top five defenders in the league.
Is Brewer really that good? “I hope I can be that good,” Brewer said. “Under the circumstances, when I was playing those guys, it was a huge challenge.”
After being acquired by OKC, Brewer immediately was compared to starter Thabo Sefolosha.
“He's one of the premier defenders in this league,” Brewer said. “For me to get my name mentioned up there with him and to be a similar type player is an honor, but I'm just going to try to match his intensity out there and whatever he does on defense. Like I said before, I don't want to lack any production when I get out there, the same intensity, the same aggressiveness and play my style of game.”
New Orleans will be on the back end of a back-to-back Wednesday, having played at home against Brooklyn on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the Thunder's last game was a 30-point rout Sunday over the Bulls in which none of its starters played in the fourth quarter. … Durant continues to lead the league in scoring (28.8) and free-throw percentage (.909). Durant has made 61 of his last 63 free-throw attempts (.968). Martin is fourth (.903). … OKC is shooting .833 from the line. The NBA single-season team record is .832 by the 1989-90 Boston Celtics. … Martin is tied for ninth in 3-point percentage (.431), Durant is 16th (.423) and Sefolosha is 20th (.414).
The Thunder selected five Oklahoma students as grand-prize winners of its fifth annual Thunder Black History Heroes Challenge.
Antonio Love of Tulsa, Jaden Pierce of Lawton, Nautica Thomas and Bobbi Jarmon of Oklahoma City and Carissa McGouran of Duncan were winners in their age categories from 500 entries submitted by students across Oklahoma. Students honored heroes from black history or personal heroes through original artwork, poems, videos and crafts.
Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on OKC signing Fisher, who played for the Mavs in December: “Look, he's one of those guys, he's been in this league for a long time, won a lot of rings and my opinion is he's earned the right to do what's best for him. If Oklahoma City is a good situation for him, then that's what he should do. We've got to carry on and we can't be concerned about things like that.”