Derek Fisher made his second Thunder debut Wednesday night during the team’s 119-74 blowout win over the New Orleans Hornets in Oklahoma City.
Going into the game the question on everybody’s mind was: how many minutes will Fisher steal away from backup point guard Reggie Jackson?
After one game the answer seems to be zero.
Scott Brooks said before the game he didn’t know who would play the majority of the time at the backup point guard position. In turn, he played the two guards together for all of Fisher’s 20 minutes on the floor against the Hornets.
"The backup point guard for us is not a statistical position," Brooks said. "I don’t know who is going to play the majority of the minutes. They can each play together, bring the ball up and defend bigger guards."
The Thunder are obviously impressed with Jackson’s progression or they wouldn’t have handed him the backup role after 25 games this season and wouldn’t have traded Eric Maynor to Portland at the trade deadline.
They were also impressed with Fisher’s leadership from a year ago or they wouldn’t have signed him to a contract for the final 26 games of this season.
"Derek gives us a great deal of experience and he is still a great player," Brooks said. "We are not just bringing him in here to tell us good stories about Kobe and Shaq. We are going to play him."
Brooks used Wednesday’s game against the Hornets to experiment with the lineup. Fisher and Jackson played together in spurts throughout the second, third and fourth quarters while Jackson scored 14 points and looked as comfortable as he has all season. Fisher missed four shots, but played good defense and looked just as comfortable as he did a year ago.
"It was cool just being on the court with Derek," Jackson said after Wednesday’s game. "We played pick-up quite a few times last summer. He has a great feel for the offense. Whether he gets it or I get it we just try to bring the ball up court and make it easy for our teammates."
"With both Reggie and I on the floor we can both handle the ball," Fisher added. "Reggie is an improved player and he’s shooting the ball well while making good decisions. Whoever is out there our job is simple: play hard and play together."
Although Fisher and Jackson played well in their first game together, Brooks said after the game the team still has options going forward.
"Sometimes they’re going to play together and sometimes they won’t," Brooks said. "I liked it. It gives us a very physical backcourt. They both can defend and it gives us experience. We have options and we have a couple of different lineups to see how it works and see how we can improve."