I can’t think of another Lakers player in recent memory that’s drawn such ambiguities from Lakers fans as Derek Fisher has since his return in 2007. To some he’s indispensable, a magnetic personality in the locker room and clutch down the stretch—especially in the playoffs. To others he’s too slow on the defensive end and a liability on offense. For the majority of Lakers fans, Fisher falls somewhere in between.
If Fisher wasn’t that productive, if he was dispensable, then why sign him to a 3-year contract extension over the summer? A contract that, for the bargain price of $10.5 million, will keep the 14-year veteran guard in his purple and gold uniform for a guaranteed two years, and a player optioned third. In all likelihood, by the end of his second stint in Los Angeles, Fisher could potentially be 38-going-on-39.
For the majority of last season, Fisher’s numbers often left something to be desired. Come playoff time, however, it was a whole different story. Fisher was easily the MVP of Game 3, where he left the Celtic faithful at the Garden gasping for air, catapulting the Lakers to victory in the 4th quarter with his clutch play. He picked his team up, just like he had done numerous times before.
We’ve come to love Fisher as a player, accepting that regardless of what happens for the majority of the standard 48-minute game, he will almost always come up big and usually when it matters the most.
There’s no confusing that sentiment.
In some regard, credit Fisher for being the epitome of professionalism, always showing up to camp physically ready for the 82-game grind and the playoff push. According to NBA.com his streak of 413 consecutive regular season games played ranks second, league-wide. For the Lakers to continue that trend, they’ll want to keep Fisher between 25-30 minutes.