Fisher and the Smart Choice


The hiring of Derek Fisher to the vacant New York Knicks coaching position had me looking backwards. I reminisced over the two clutch three’s in the Orlando Finals. I thought, really, about all things Derek Fisher: the flops; the pre-game and in-the-huddle speeches; the aggravating, wall-punch-inducing, worst-shot-in-the-game, toe on the line twos; the post-2009 Finals speech (which I may have listened to 1000 times). I thought about 0.4.

But it also had me looking forward. And as I look at the draft, and who will likely be around when the Lakers make their selection, I am convinced more than ever that the Lakers should draft Marcus Smart.

Fisher taught us that the intangibles matter. That leadership, while not quantifiable, remains a certain irreplaceable quality in a player. And Smart – by all accounts – has that quality.

The Lakers won’t draft Smart in the hope he becomes Fisher. (A couple of Finals winning three’s would not be snuffed at though). That would be a ridiculous proposition. They need to hit on this lottery pick – they don’t get many. But the physical and tangible aspects of Smart’s game have put him in the discussion for the 7th pick. He’s talented enough. His physical merits can and will be discussed by some of the brightest minds in the game. His leadership ability may give him the advantage.

The trip down memory lane with Fisher is just a reminder that the intangibles matter. They kept the kid from Littlerock, Arkansas in the game this long. And though Smart will need much more to survive in this league, it is not a bad place for the Lakers to start.