2013-14 Oklahoma City Thunder Player Previews: Derek Fisher

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Fisher is going to be with the Thunder team for a full season for the first time. What will this mean for the OKC bench?

(WTLC begins its final preparation for the regular season with our annual player profile previews.  Each player gets a dual analysis as well as a grade of our expectations for each. See the grading scale at the bottom.)

Player DEREK FISHER
Position Point Guard
Year in NBA 18
Nicknames "Fish," "Old Man Fisher," "Fish that saved Pittsburgh"
2012-13 Stats 4.1 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 0.7 AST, 0.6, 0.5 TO
Past Accolades 5x NBA Champion, former President of the Players Union
Injury History None, just getting old
Contract Status $1.4 million 1 year deal

***

Craig

Another year and another season of Derek Fisher. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. I was not that upset when the Thunder resigned Fisher this off-season. Once Russell Westbrook got Beverley'd in the playoffs it was a given that the Thunder would resign him. He gives the Thunder much needed depth at the point guard spot. As much as I love James Harden Replacement (Jeremy Lamb) and his ability to play some point guard I would rather not have him being the main back up point guard.

Now having depth is important and all but the main reason why Fisher was brought back to the squad is the same reason why the Thunder originally signed him in March of 2012. Playoffs. He is on this team more for the games in April and May than he is for the games in October through March. As much as I groaned when he would shoot (and kept shooting) threes in the playoffs last year he is a player who can still provide you something in a big game. He can't do it at the same level he did with the Lakers when they won back-to-back titles but on this team with the way this roster is constructed they can afford to keep Fisher around for that one moment or that one game where he hits that big corner three.

Grade_cplus_medium

***

Sherman

My feelings about Derek Fisher should be pretty well known by this point. Over and over again.

However...

I feel differently about Fish this time around. In years' past, Fisher was brought in first as a stop-gap after Eric Maynor injured his ACL, and then last year for reasons I can't even surmise (but to his credit, proved valuable as Russell Westbrook was lost in the playoffs). In both of those occasions, Fisher was given an on-court responsibility that far outstripped his abilities. He was asked to be a necessary offensive contributor and he took away valuable shots that really should have gone to other players. Results were mixed, but the Thunder definitely felt like they were more inert when Fisher was part of the equation.

The reason I feel differently this time around is because I predict that Fisher's role will feel much more natural and organic since he will be with the team for the full season. There will be 82 games for the team and coaching staff to figure out exactly how they should be using him. It is true that coach Scott Brooks often times hangs onto veterans longer than he should (Kendrick Perkins would be the other), but in the end, he did adjust to Perkins' shortcomings, especially against the Rockets. With a full deck of games, I think it will be much easier to see the best way to use Fisher, and that will both maximize his abilities (backup PG) and minimize his shortcomings (use as 3-point specialist, defense).

In the end, Fisher's test is whether he he is setting up his talented offensive teammates and give them spacing with his perimeter shot, or if he is going to be used as an offensive focal point on the bench and  regress to his career averages.

Fisher's use is limited, but within those limits, there is use. Let's hope the team finds it.

Grade_cminus_medium

***

A Player has exceedingly high expectations attainable only if they play to their fullest ability.
B Player has reasonably high expectations that are attainable.
C
Player has moderate expectations which should be met with little trouble.
D
Player has moderate expectations but will struggle to meet them.
F
Player should not be on the Thunder roster.
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