Home is where the heart is, and Derek Fisher has decided to keep his heart adorned with purple and gold.
It was a brilliant attempt by Pat Riley.
Derek Fisher is a well-respected player in the league, evident by being the president of the NBA's Player's Union. In bringing Derek Fisher to South Beach, Riley would've given Miami Thrice a solid squad leader, a steady hand at the point, and a veteran and multi-championship-winning presence on the team; that, and the Lakers would be missing the one man, outside of the coaches, who has a direct line to Kobe's ear.
Derek Fisher has always been the unsung hero on this Laker team. For the past two seasons, more of the fair-weathered fans have booed, heckled, or called-out Fisher as the weakest link in the Lakers' rotation.
Those people have had valid points. Fisher's 7.5 points per game and 2.5 assists per game is easily the worst amongst starting point guards in the NBA.
Yet somehow, people always forget that Fisher saves his best for the biggest stage. In the Playoffs, Fisher upped his game by averaging 10.3ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.8apg, and 1.2spg.
Yes, Fisher's numbers will never pop out at you, but Fisher's importance to the Lakers run deeper than his individual numbers. Fisher is their level-headed leader. When Fisher talks, everyone on the team listens. Yes, even Kobe Bryant. He also provides a steady hand at the point and fills out the role of the point guard, the bail out option, in the triangle offense well.
But what truly stands out in Fisher's legendary, in its own right, career, is that he has become a clutch option for the Lakers. TV analysts, in-game commentators, and basketball experts on various networks often caught gushing when it comes to Derek Fisher in the Playoffs
"Time and time again, Derek Fisher has come up with the big shot when the Lakers needed it."
"Outside of Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher is the best closer on this Laker team."
"Fisher hits ANOTHER dagger. How many times has he done that in his career?"
In need of proof? How about .04, Games Four and Five against Orlando in 2009, Fisher's 11-point fourth quarter against Boston in the 2010 Finals? And those are just some of the prominent moments in his career.
He has made a name for himself, with the word "clutch" alongside, in the Lakers' dictionary. He is the one Laker, outside of Kobe Bryant, who you wouldn't want to be holding the ball during the final stretch of the fourth quarter if you were an opposing fan.
When Fisher got his hands on the ball for that fourth quarter three-pointer in Game Seven against the Celtics, you could hear every person cheering for Boston collectively gasp... and then groan; a natural reaction for the many "victims" of Fisher's playoff heroics. In many ways, Derek Fisher has elevated himself to the status of elite role players: Robert Horry, Michael Cooper, and Vinnie Johnson are some of the players on this level that come off at the top of my head.
Sure, Derek Fisher will go into the 2010-2011 Regular Season another year older. Yes, he will once again be perceived as the weakest link in the Lakers' rotation. But the man has carved out his own "legacy."
He continues to defy his critics and haters by draining dagger three after dagger three.
And he's set to do so as a Laker for the rest of his career.
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