Veteran point guard Derek Fisher was signed by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. Fisher fills a void left at the position after the Thunder traded guard Eric Maynor to Portland. Fisher played for the Thunder for 40 total games last season. 20 in the regular season and 20 in the playoff run to the NBA Finals.
This is a smart move by OKC because Fisher is what I call a “championship player”. He isn’t a star but he is one of those consistent players that all championship teams need. The guy that not only knows his role, but also accepts it. Sometimes young guys come into the league thinking that they’re supposed to be stars right away, this prohibits them from excelling in the specific role the team wants them to fill. This is not the case with Fisher, as he has won five championship rings by playing his role.
Fisher will also bring that veteran leadership to this young Thunder team. Kevin Durant is a star and a top two player in the league, but he is still learning how to win a championship. Fisher will help in that area as well as mentoring the talented but immature Russell Westbrook, which may be the biggest and most important role Fisher plays the rest of this season.
Westbrook is very talented but the Thunder won’t win a title until he matures and makes wiser decisions on the court. There is no justification for Westbrook having more shot attempts in a season than Durant does. There are occasions where Westbrook will look off an open Durant, just so he can either go in the post and shoot or try to drive to the basket and shoot, and the result is often times an turnover or missed shot.
Westbrook has also thrown temper tantrums multiple times this year, this is unacceptable for the point guard of a championship contending team. Trust me Derek Fisher knows this and will try, along with assistant coach Mo Cheeks and head coach Scott Brooks, to get through to Westbrook and help him mature in these areas.
Although Fisher is older, at 38, he is still a valuable acquisition for the Thunder because of his on and off court leadership as well as his veteran savvy. His signing kills two birds with one stone … serve as a mentor and fill a void at the point guard position. Makes sense to me