NBA Experience: 15 years
Contract Status: Signed thru 2012-13
2010-11 Averages: 6.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.2spg, 38% FG, 39% 3PT, 80% FT
Is there a more vilified hero in all of hoops? One minute Fisher is being blamed as the weakest link on the Lakers’ roster. The next second he’s hailed as the team’s savior. D-Fish is many things to the Lakers. Fans in L.A. tout him for his high character and father like presence. Fans in Utah call him a liar. If you’re not a Laker fan, chances are he’s done something to your team to make you shake your head in inexplicable disgust. One thing that remains to be seen is how he’ll figure in to Mike Brown’s plans.
Fisher gets credit for being able to continue to contribute despite being many years past his prime. I’m as guilty as the next for having buried Fisher after his first stint with the Lakers ended. Much to my surprise, he’s still as relevant as ever during the recent resurrection of the Laker dynasty.
His inability to guard quicker points in the league has left Fisher exposed as a major liability. His leadership and clutch nature make him a necessity no matter the circumstance. Therein lies the conundrum that Coach Brown inherits. The problem these days is that those clutch moments are fewer and further between.
Fisher wasn’t much of a consistent contributor during the 2010-11 season. He’ll be most remembered for being destroyed by J.J. Barea during the embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Mavs. Not the sole reason why the Lakers’ three-peat hopes went up in a ball of flames but Fisher’s D was downright dreadful.
The future is certainly cloudy for D-Fish. As the president of the players’ association he’s in for the long haul with regards to the current lockout. Beyond his union responsibilities, the lockout figures to factor heavily in his future as a player as well. Should the lockout wipeout next season all together then Fisher could be pitted with a tough career decision.
He’ll always have a place in Laker lore but the immediate concern is if Fisher will have a major role in Coach Brown’s rotation. The Lakers used their first pick in the draft to select a point guard. While Darius Morris doesn’t seem likely to take Fisher’s job anytime soon it does indicate the franchise is looking to turn the page. Steve Blake is under contract though it remains to be seen how he’ll fit in under the new coaching regime as well. Blake could take the starting job by default as Fisher slowly transitions into a mentor role.
All of the above remains to be seen. While it seems unlikely Fisher will ever play big minutes for a title contender again I’ve learned no to bet against him. When you’ve got the heart of a champion like Fisher does nothing is ever over until it is truly over. Never forget what he did with .4 seconds in San Antonio. It seems like the book on Derek Fisher will never be closed as he continues to author new chapters every year of his career.