What Derek Fisher’s Return Means For Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder re-signed Derek Fisher on Monday for the rest of this season. The purpose of this signing is to fill the void left after guard Eric Maynor was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers at the NBA deadline. How will Fisher’s return help the Thunder down the stretch and in the playoffs?
Fisher signed with the Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 29 of last year as the team needed a point guard after Darren Collison injured his finger. Fisher requested to be released by Dallas after he injured the patellar tendon in his right knee on Dec. 20. The purpose of the release was so that he could be closer to his family while he rehabbed his injury.
When the 38-year-old signed with Oklahoma City on Feb. 25, it came as a surprise to many people, especially the Mavericks. Dallas claims they knew nothing about Fisher wanting to make a return to the NBA and that he never contacted the organization about a possible return to the team. This is most likely because the Mavericks are essentially out of playoff contention while the Thunder are very much in it. One can certainly not blame the point guard for wanting to return to a team that has the best possibility of getting him a sixth NBA Championship ring.
In 20 games with Oklahoma City last season, Fisher averaged 4.9 points, 1.4 assists and 20.4 minutes per game while shooting 34.3 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from beyond the arc. In nine games with Dallas this season, he averaged 8.6 points, 3.4 assists and 25.4 minutes per game with a .354 shooting percentage and .435 three-point percentage.
The Thunder realized they needed a third point guard behind starter Russell Westbrook and backup Reggie Jackson. Considering Fisher played rather well before his injury in December, Oklahoma City thought it would be best to give him another shot. Not to mention, Fisher’s 16 years in the league can help serve the team in many different ways, including having a coach on the court and a solid influence in the locker room.
Oklahoma City will probably give Jackson most of the playing time in the reserve role, but one has to wonder if the Thunder will be tempted to give Fisher as many touches as possible. Of course, there is the more likely chance that Fisher does not pan out for the team. However, considering he has been known to get hot when it matters most, Oklahoma City might want to see if he can bring a legitimate outside threat off the bench.