Lakers Rumors: Why Adding Derek Fisher Would Make Lakers Team to Beat

Stephen Sheehan@@StephenPSheehanCorrespondent IOctober 30, 2012

Derek Fisher is as familiar as it gets with the Lakers.
Derek Fisher is as familiar as it gets with the Lakers.Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

It's hard to imagine a Lakers championship team without Derek Fisher. 

According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the 16-year veteran could be the final piece to completing L.A.'s magical offseason puzzle. 

Stein reports the five-time NBA champion is eligible to sign with the Lakers, but probably won't make any decision until L.A. tries to unload backups Steve Blake and/or Chris Duhon. 

After adding Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to round out the starting trio of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace, the Lakers positioned themselves to be the top dog in the Western Conference. 

With the Oklahoma City Thunder shipping out James Harden and his epic beard, the Lakers now look even better on paper. 

So what would put them over the top as the team to beat in the entire league? 

Adding a 38-year-old backup point guard, of course. 

Fisher's best days are clearly behind him. In fact, even at his best he wasn't a double-digit scorer or masterful passing wizard like Nash. 

What he brings is an insatiable appetite for winning, a knack for hitting clutch shots and an unparalleled level of toughness for a guy who's 10 inches shorter than Howard. 

The 6'1" lefty obviously lacks the quickness to compete with the league's elite point guards, but he won't be tasked with guarding the likes of Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook. 

If Fisher is reunited with the Lakers, he can be what Blake was supposed to be: a reliable veteran backup. 

In 53 games with L.A. last season, Blake's effectiveness waned as the season went on, forcing the Lakers to acquire Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers

Blake's role with the team diminished, and by now he's an expendable piece. 

Fisher, on the other hand, showed he's still a contributor for a playoff team. 

With the Thunder, he continued to sink threes, going 18-of-48 from downtown in the playoffs. 

While he won't be a threat to Nash's starting job, he would be an invaluable veteran backup for the fellow 38-year-old. 

Nash stays in impeccable shape, but you have to wonder just how much of a beating his legs can take at this age. If he starts to fatigue, why not replace him with someone experienced in your system? 

The overall talent drop-off from Nash to Fisher can't be taken for granted, but you could do a lot worse than having Fisher handling the ball for an offense that features the Black Mamba and Superman. 

Bringing back Fisher would give L.A. another leader on a team that has a ton of big personalities. His steadying presence, even in a reduced on-court role, could be invaluable for this ultra-talented squad. 

There's no doubt the Miami Heat have assembled a fantastic group, but if Mike Brown can spell Nash with Fisher, there isn't a lineup in the league that can boast that type of continuity and experience. 

Between Nash and Fisher, L.A. would have 32 years of NBA experience at the point guard spot and would instantly become the team to beat this season. 

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