This tweet from Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman says all you need to know:
Derek Fisher just walked in the Thunder’s locker room.
It’s what he brings to that locker room — more than on the court — that got the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign the five-time champion Derek Fisher. The team has confirmed the signing, Fisher cleared waivers at 6 p.m. Eastern. and signed minutes later.
Fisher will be in uniform for the Thunder Wednesday night against the Clippers.
Go ahead and circle March 29 on your calendar now — that is when Fisher returns to Staples Center to face the Lakers.
The Lakers traded the veteran to the Rockets at the trade deadline, a move made to clear the way in the locker room politically for the arrival of Ramon Sessions. No doubt Sessions is the better player at this point, but Fisher sitting on the bench could have created problems. The Lakers traded him to the Rockets, and Fisher gave up his entire $3.4 million player option next season to be bought out and be made a free agent.
Because Fisher wanted to win another ring (he has five as a Laker). Something he thinks could happen in Oklahoma City.
He will get minutes as the backup point guard but he’s not going to give them much — Fisher is shooting 38.3 percent this season and has a PER of 8.9. And his offense is better than his defense.
However, in the locker room he brings an unwavering confidence and an understanding of what it takes to win in the playoffs. Fisher is a calm, confident player who does not shrink from the big moments.
The Thunder are a pedestrian 5-5 in their last 10 and have looked vulnerable. This is a team that needs to be reminded of how to win in the playoffs and Fisher’s level-headed demeanor, professionalism and confidence can help. In the playoffs, when things inevitably get tough, he can be the calming, veteran voice.
This is a good pickup by the Thunder. We’ll see how much of a dividend it pays in late May and June.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.