Among the great NBA debates is the contentious cooler-talk question: "Who is the greatest point guard of the last 10 years?"
With an abundance of outstanding playmakers at that position—including Steve Nash and his unparalleled leadership skills, Chris Paul and his king-like court vision, Deron Williams and his unprecedented offensive arsenal, and Rajon Rondo and his superb speed and quickness—the answer is about as identifiable as the single wisest Woodenism.
And then there are the established likes of Chauncey Billups, Tony Parker, Jason Kidd, Gilbert Arenas, and Baron Davis, not to mention the up-and-coming catalysts that go by the names of Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Jameer Nelson, and Tyreke Evans.
Regardless of who you believe has been the best point guard over the past decade, there is one guy who has not been and likely never will be on that list.
That guy is one Derek Lamar Fisher.
His career numbers—nine points and three assists per game—are far below all of the aforementioned players; the role he has played is easily inferior to them as well, and he receives much less attention than any of TIME's Top 10 Underreported Stories of 2009.
But after the final buzzer has sounded, the streamers fallen from the rafters, the arena quiet and emptied, there is a fundamental and indefensible reason why Fisher is two wins away from his fifth championship trophy—a championship that equates to one more than those other 13 players combined.
Sure the Bulldog has been teamed with a multitude of top-talent players, first-ballot all-stars, and future Hall of Famers.
Sure he has never been the go-to guy or heck, even the obvious second or third option.
Sure Fisher is about as consistently good during the course of an 82-game regular season (especially this past one) as 82 meals at Applebee's.
And sure he is constantly targeted as the predominant mismatch of which many teams attempt to exploit, specifically at the point guard position.
But for all of his flaws and frailties, there has not been a more physically and mentally hard-nosed, poised, team-first competitor over the last 10 years in the NBA.
Nor has there has been a player who has overcome more doubts and deficiencies over a considerable career (14 seasons to be exact), all the while racking up four-going-on-five rings, being an A-list leader despite being a B-list player, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot, and rising up every time his critics try to bring him down.
Above all, there has not been a greater playoff point guard during the past decade than one Derek Lamar Fisher.
You can contact Josh Hoffman at JHoffMedia@gmail.com.