When will people learn to cover Derek Fisher on a potential game winning shot? Let’s be clear — Derek Fisher has almost nothing left and should barely see the court for the Lakers. But what he still has in abundance is a self-confidence that in the biggest moments lets him fearlessly let a shot fly.
Dallas made a smart play, they doubled early to get the ball out of Kobe Bryant’s hands — don’t let him beat you. But Fisher then got a clean look and drained that shot, and if he had passed Pau Gasol would have had a clean look on the baseline (Dirk Nowitzki hesitates on the close out on Fisher when he senses how open Gasol is and the pass might go there).
The Lakers are the worst three point shooting team in the league and were 0-9 from three in the game before that moment. But when it is Fisher with the game on the line, he knows no fear.
Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.
In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).
Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.
Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury
The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.
After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.
Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).