Thunder coach Scott Brooks was being diplomatic, although there certainly is truth in coaches wanting proven leaders on their team.
And Derrick Fisher is a proven leader. He’s also a 38-year-old point guard without a contract. Fisher played with the Oklahoma City through the playoffs last year.
So, Brooks, is there a chance your team bring Fisher back for next season (via Mark Medina at the Los Angeles Times)?
“There still is,” Brooks said. “Everything is still fluid.”
Very diplomatic. The fact is the Thunder have three point guards on the roster — Russell Westbrook, Eric Maynor (who was injured through the playoffs last year) and Reggie Jackson. Maynor is a serious upgrade on the court over Fisher as a backup point guard right now.
Fisher is more likely to be a mid-season pickup by a playoff bound team that suffers injuries and is looking for a few minutes a game and a locker room presence. Not much more. His game doesn’t warrant much anymore.
But Brooks sounded like a coach when he praised Fisher (best known for his Lakers years) and what he brought to the team.
“Derek Fisher, just being around him, I can tell why he’s loved by so many people and why the Lakers won so many championships,” Brooks said. “He puts everything he has into every possession, every practice and every game. In our practices, he is 37 and he did everything we asked, every drill and every possession. He practices every day. It was great. I don’t think we could’ve gone as far as we did without him. I thought he was terrific and I love him. I really have a lot of respect for him.”
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.