According to Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN Dallas, free agent point guard Derek Fisher has signed with the Dallas Mavericks. Head coach Rick Carlisle has confirmed the signing and cites the Mavericks' current roster situation as the reason behind the move.
As a result of the acquisition, Fish will make Jason Kidd a distant memory for Dirk Nowitzki and company.
We need help at point guard...I found out...that [Darren] Collison would be out, and we were fortunate to get [Jared] Cunningham active. We feel [Fisher] can help us. It's not a cure-all to all of our team challenges, but his expertise and experience will help.
As ESPN Dallas has reported, Collison is presently sidelined by a sprained right middle finger, while Cunningham has finally recovered from a sprained thumb. Regardless of the severity of the duo's respective injuries, the Mavericks are thin at point guard with or without Collison and Cunningham.
Rodrigue Beaubois can't seem to stay healthy, and his still-inconsistent play will further erode the trust Coach Carlisle has in the three-year veteran guard. Dominique Jones, meanwhile, is a solid player with upside and the size to play both guard positions.
The issue is that Carlisle and the Mavs are uncertain as to which guard position Jones is best fit to play. If Jones' recent development is a sign of things to come, look for him to become a Dwyane Wade-type of guard—one built to score but solid enough as a passer to fill in as a flex point guard.
Was signing Derek Fisher the right move?
Although the signing of Fisher will not nullify these issues, it will offer the young players a veteran voice to guide their progression. Keep in mind, the player whom these young guards are meant to work off of, Dirk Nowitzki, is presently injured.
Nowitzki is targeting a return in mid-December, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas.
While it's been said that targeting Fisher would be a sign of desperation on the Mavs' part, the recent slew of injuries—preceded by the steep decline in point guard production—justifies his signing.
The key example would be the injured Collison.
Through the first eight games of the 2012-13 NBA season, Collison provided the team with a sense of reliability at the point. The former UCLA Bruin posted averages of 15.0 points and 6.9 assists per game, establishing himself as a young face of the franchise.
Unfortunately, the past seven games have not been so kind.
Collison is averaging 10.4 points and 5.6 assists per game. This drop-off has led to a heavier reliance on the likes of Beaubois and Jones. Due to Beaubois' averages of 4.3 points and 2.7 assists in 15.3 minutes per game, however, it's clear that a move needed to be made.
With that being said, the signing still smacks of desperation. The Mavericks have lost eight of their past 11 games, thanks in part to the inconsistency of their facilitators. Due to this severe decrease in production, signing Fisher suddenly makes sense.
It also fills the void left by Jason Kidd's departure.
Keep in mind, the efficient Kidd we are seeing with the 2012-13 New York Knicks is not the same one we saw with Dallas in 2011-12. Kidd shot just 36.3 percent from the floor and 35.4 percent from beyond the arc last season.
What is missed, however, is his veteran leadership and prowess in late-game situations—an ability that the young players like Collison, Jones and Cunningham could draw from at this stage of their careers.
Fisher may only play 20 minutes a night, but his presence will be of extraordinary value. Fish has been a guiding voice in many locker rooms, which is a major reason that he is a five-time NBA champion.
Thus, the Mavericks' desperate signing of D-Fish will not only aid their current point guards, but it will enable Dirk Nowitzki and company to overcome the loss of former Mavs veterans who contributed so much to the team's prior playoff success.
Who would have thought that acquiring a 38-year-old role player would be the significant signing of the season for Mark Cuban?
He may not be Deron Williams, but adding Fisher improves the Mavericks' current situation. After all, Dallas can only go up from here.