Five-time champion Derek Fisher has found a new home: the West-leading Oklahoma City Thunder. Both sides made a great choice, and yet Fisher choosing the number “37” is just one reason this is also a little sad.
If you could knock OKC, the presumptive favorite to come out of the Western Conference, it would be their youth. With an average age of 25.9 (good for 24th oldest in the league) before Fisher, the Thunder are short on playoff experience where they are long on outrageous talent and athleticism. Kendrick Perkins would be the most battle tested of the squad, and he was a young follower on a team of Celtic leaders in 2008. They were also down a point guard after Eric Maynor was lost for the season back in January.
Enter Derek Fisher. He’s played the fourth-most playoff games in NBA history. Not long ago he was the starting point guard on the third best team in the conference. Also, he’s a consummate professional who can serve as the elder statesman to Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson. It would similar to a Chauncey Billups/Chris Paul situation — though hopefully without the injury — with Fisher and Westbrook on the floor together. Plus, he’ll be cheap, as Oklahoma City will only be able to pay him part of the veteran’s minimum.
So why does this seem a little sad as well? A few Fisher quotes on CBS Sports are particularly revealing, as when he was asked about choosing the number 37. “It’s my age, I guess,” he replied. Thanks for not letting us forget how old and slow you are, Derek.
Also, he can’t even talk about being traded by the Lakers. ““At the right time, I’ll be able to make statements and say things related to the Lakers and my teammates and guys that I used to play with, but right now for me, I’m excited about this team and the potential they have and what it is I can bring to something that’s already pretty good.”
Come on Derek. They broke up with you. It hurts. Tell us about it. We’re great listeners. And we’ll even tell you what you already know: by signing with the Thunder, you’re going to get the chance to go the big dance with the younger, prettier team.
Watch him check in to tonight’s game, to a standing ovation (from the Blazersedge):
[Photo from MikePradaSBN]