Oklahoma City Thunder: Derek Fisher's return a good thing as long as Thunder doesn't lean on him too much

JENNI CARLSON COMMENTARY — Bringing back Derek Fisher is a good thing...so long as the Thunder doesn't start taking away minutes from Reggie Jackson, Nick Collison, or heck, even Ronnie Brewer.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: February 25, 2013 at 10:19 pm •  Published: February 25, 2013

I don't know the answer to that question, but I know that Fisher's minutes best not come at the expense of Sefolosha or Collison.

That's what ended up happening a year ago. He was brought in to replace Jackson, but as the season went on, his mission started to creep. By the end, he was on the floor with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as much as he was with the second unit.

In the playoffs, Fisher averaged as many minutes as Sefolosha and more minutes than Collison. In the playoffs when points are at a premium and defense is ratcheted up, it's better to have your best defensive player on the court more, not less.

Yet in the Finals, Brooks went with Fisher more than ever. He averaged 21.5 minutes in the first three rounds of the playoffs and 25.6 minutes in the Finals.

That would've been great news had Fisher been able to help guard LeBron James.

Would Thabo or Collison or even Ronnie Brewer, the defensive whiz who was acquired last week from the Knicks, have made a difference in the outcome of the series?

It's hard to say.

But I sure like the Thunder's chances more with them on the floor instead of on the bench.

Listen, I'm not here to hate on Fisher. He can hit big shots. He can make great passes. He can bring veteran leadership into the locker room and onto the court. But at 38 years old, he could take playing time away from guys who need to be on the court during the playoffs.

Giving him his old locker is one thing.

Giving him those minutes is quite another.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
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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