Oklahoma City thought they had their backup point guard problem solved when they signed Derek Fisher Wednesday.
However, Friday night’s double-overtime game against the Minnesota Timberwolves proved that it’s going to take some time for Fisher to get used to his new role.
Fisher stepped on the court Wednesday night and the Oklahoma City crowd gave him a 45-second standing ovation, excited to see the answer to the question Eric Maynor left the team in early January. He played well in his Thunder debut against the Clippers, finishing with five points in 19 minutes, an unexpected amount of playing time for a guy stepping into a new system. However, his second game showed that there are still adjustments to be made.
Fisher only made two shots on 11 attempts and played over 35 minutes against Minnesota Friday night. The Wolves forced Scott Brooks’ hand in playing Fisher more minutes than he would have liked by playing four guards for most of the game. Thabo Sefolosha is still working his way back into playing shape and Brooks was hesitant in putting him in longer than usual.
“He (Fisher) didn’t have a good shooting night,” Brooks said after the Thunder’s win over Minnesota. “We decided to go small because they were running two-guards at the power forward spot along with Kevin Love. I’m still monitoring Thabo’s minutes or normally he would’ve been in there. I wish he (Fisher) would have made more shots and he does too. He’s made shots for 16 years and he’s going to make shots for us too.”
This is brand new territory for both Fisher and the Thunder. Oklahoma City has had a quality backup point guard in Eric Maynor, but hasn’t had a guard who brings more experience than Fisher. It can be tough to figure out how to fit a key piece of the puzzle in so early in his tenure.
In Fisher’s case, he goes from being a starter for a team that has won five championships to a backup for a team trying to win their first. Not only can that be a bit demoralizing at first, it can also make a player have to rework his feel for the game.
There’s a major difference between being the starting point guard and being the backup and Brooks has confidence Fisher will figure it out.
“I believe in what he does,” Brooks said. “I’ve seen him play and I’ve played against him. He makes good shots and he finds the right guy. When you miss, you still have to make the right play and he does that.
Minutes also play a big factor when a new player comes to town. Do you immediately put your new guy into his new role or do you ease him into it slowly but surely? It’s tough to say, especially with a team contending for a championship.
Fisher has played an insane amount of minutes in two games with the Thunder. He’s 37-years old and there aren’t too many more 30-minute games left in his future. If Brooks keeps using Fisher like he is, there might not be too many 10-minute games in his future.
Although Oklahoma City has found a quick fix to one of their problems going down the stretch, it’s still going to take some time for it to settle. Fisher made his age a point of pride when he chose to wear 37 as his number in Oklahoma City.
The 16-year vet has a lot of qualities you look for in a player, however, age isn’t one of them.
Hook up with some travel promo savings and follow the Thunder.