Jenni Carlson

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Thunder: Scott Brooks says Derek Fisher ‘definitely … will play’

by Jenni Carlson Modified: April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm •  Published: February 26, 2013

Apparently, Derek Fisher wasn’t brought in to replace Eric Maynor.

On Tuesday, Thunder coach Scott Brooks met with the media for the first time since the team signed Fisher. It was somewhat assumed that Fisher was being brought in to be the third-team point guard, and if he filled that role as Maynor did before being traded, that would mean that Fisher would sit on the bench most games and play only in garbage time.

Uh, maybe not.

Brooks talked Tuesday like he intends to use Fisher differently than he used Maynor. The coach said that he plans on Fisher playing meaningful minutes in games.

Brooks said of Fisher, “Definitely, he will play.”

But wait, there’s more.

“Does he take spots on the floor, minutes from other guys?” Brooks said. “”To have a good team, you have to have sacrifices from everybody.”

Oh, boy.

Sure sounds like Brooks is going to use Fisher more like he used him a year ago than like he used Maynor these past few months. As I wrote in the Tuesday Oklahoman — you can read that column here — I sure hope that doesn’t come at the expense of Reggie Jackson or Thabo Sefolosha or Nick Collison. Those were the guys who saw their minutes diminished last season as Fisher’s role expanded. You could understand him taking minutes from Jackson last season — Fisher was brought in to be the back-up point guard for Jackson, who was a rookie and struggling to adjust — but Jackson is a much improved player this season. What has he done to make anyone think he can’t do the job the rest of the season and in the playoffs?

Maybe this is just a case of Brooks going with someone who makes him comfortable. There’s a lot to be said for that, of course.

But there’s also something to be said for the philosophy that has gotten the Thunder to this point. This franchise talks a lot about developing its young players and building around them. Why not continue to do that with Jackson?

It doesn’t make sense to completely break from that successful philosophy.

I guess we’ll start to see Wednesday night when the Thunder plays the Hornets how Brooks really intends to use Fisher, but until then, the coach has done nothing to assuage my fears that Fisher’s playing time is going to come at the expense of several guys who should be on the floor instead.

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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