Kobe Bryant's Real Sidekick

Carl CockerhamSenior Analyst IJune 1, 2010

PHOENIX - MAY 25:  Kobe Bryant #24 and Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers stand on the court during their 115-106 loss to the Phoenix Suns in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on May 25, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

At 6'1", 210 lbs, Derek Fisher is not a whole lot to look at from a basketball standpoint. He is often seen getting abused by the super quick point guards in the league.

He averaged just under eight points per game this season. He now averages 11 points per game in these playoffs.

These unsexy stats would make you wonder why I am calling Fisher a sidekick when Kobe has Pau Gasol. In years past, Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen, and the list goes on.

If you just want to look at the box scores you can hardly call "D-Fish" a sidekick. Evidence of "D-Fish's" impact is hardly ever seen in the box scores.

Even when getting abused on defense, "D-Fish" stayes after it and often gets a key steal or draws a key charge. He's never been known as a top gun shooter but he has hit many a big shot when needed.

During the Western Conference Finals vs the Suns, "D-Fish" hit big three-pointers just when the Suns appeared to be closing in late in games five and six. He had 22 points in game five to pick up the slack for supposed sidekick Pau Gasol, who was unable to get going.

I must admit that I was among those that said "D-Fish" didn't have it anymore when watching him this season. After further review, when did he ever have it?

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"D-Fish" averaged nine points per game for his career, but has hit big shots like the catch-shoot, three-point buzzer beater to beat the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals in 2004. Even then he wasn't appreciated.

"D-Fish" came off the bench to make that shot as Gary Payton was brought in to win the title. That didn't quite work out, as "The Glove" became "The Mitt" and couldn't make shots.

After that season, the team was disassembled and D-Fish was one of the first ones allowed to leave town. He then played very well in Utah as he was a key component in getting the Jazz deep into the playoffs during his stint there.

When Kobe Bryant wanted to be traded because of the lack of help, D-Fish was brought back as the Utah Jazz mercifully let him out of his contract to live in LA and take care of his daughter, who had eye cancer.

However, it was the acquisition of Gasol that got all the credit for the recent title runs. Gasol is now known for being Kobe's sidekick, but is that the truth?

Upon further review, Kobe has won one title without Shaq and four without Gasol. He has yet to win a title without D-Fish starting along side him in the backcourt.

For that, he is Kobe's real sidekick.