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I Feel Sorry for Derek Fisher

I talked with D-Fish before and after Saturday’s win over Utah. He was his usually smiling, friendly self. Our conversation was continuously interrupted by well-greeters and familiar faces. Being that D-Fish is the prototypical nice guy, he sincerely entertained everyone.
But past the veneer of warmth, through the façade of contentment, I could see that D-Fish isn’t happy. He wouldn’t ever say anything to ruffle feathers of his team, which is doing so well. But after a couple years of covering Fisher, I know what he really covets.
The reason he left the Lakers, the reason he came to the Warriors (other than the blow-everyone-else-out-of-the-water contract the Warriors offered), was because he wants to be a starting point guard. Now that he already has three championship rings, Fisher’s main remaining goal is to be the No. 1 floor general for an NBA team. He wants to be what Baron Davis is with the Warriors, what Deron Williams is with Utah – not just the undisputed starting point guard, but a major factor, a key cog.
He at least wants the opportunity to show he can do it, a chance he almost assuredly doesn’t feel like he got with the Warriors and a chance he won’t get as long as Deron Williams is in Utah.
Fisher doesn’t see himself as a back-up point guard, but a starter. Since his days at the top of his game are winding down, he needs his opportunity now. So don’t be surprised if Fisher gets traded again.
I don’t think Fisher is the type to demand a trade, at least not publicly. But he may be desperate enough that I could see him or his agent requesting a move to a better situation for him. There are some teams that can use an upgrade at point guard, an improvement you can argue Fisher could provide.
Cleveland (Eric Snow), the Lakers (Smush Parker), Memphis (Damon Stoudemire/Chuck Atkins), Houston (Rafer Alston) and Miami (Gary Payton/Jason Williams) all perhaps would be better with Fisher at the point. Cleveland is probably the best fit. The Lakers would be a great fit, too, because they need a point guard who can hit the open shot (though I don’t think a return to the triangle, where the PG spots up, is what Fisher has in mind). Memphis would be good because they play at a slower tempo, where Fisher is best, and he has a relationship with Jerry West. Houston and Miami, where Fisher would be a glorified role player, might be too similar to the Lakers situation he fled.
Honestly, I feel kind of bad for Fisher. Even though I think he overrates himself a tad (as does just about every player; they have to have extreme confidence), I think he is a starting point guard. He’s not an elite starting point guard, such as Nash or Chauncey Billups. But he’s second (Tony Parker, Kirk Hinrich) or third tier (Andre Miller, Luke Ridnour), which is good enough to be a starter.
I feel bad for him because he’s actually being penalized for being a nice guy. The fact is, he probably wouldn’t have the audacity to demand a trade, especially considering he’s on a winning team and playing for a Hall of Fame coach. Even if he does, if Utah doesn’t want to trade him, that’s perhaps end of discussion, because Fisher is not going to milk an injury or pout or talk through the media.
But other guys around the league, the latest unhappy back-up is Earl Watson, have no problem voicing their displeasure and usually get what they want in the end.
If Fisher were to request a trade, however politely, and it got out, he’d probably look like the bad guy, which I’m not sure he could tolerate. If he bites his tongue and remains professional, he’s once again stuck behind a superior talent at point guard, playing the part of consummate teammate and supersub, missing out on his ever-shrinking window to fulfill his dream.
While it all has to be put in millions-of-dollars perspective, I do feel bad for the guy.

Marcus Thompson

  • MIKE VALENZUELA

    IN A LEAGUE WHERE GOOD GUYS ARE NEEDED DEREK FISHER WOULD BE A GREAT STORY IF HE WERE GIVEN THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES. THE PROBLEM ISN’T THE TEAM HE IS ON BUT HIS FEET. A FEW YEARS AGO HE WAS GETTING TORCHED OFF THE DRIBBLE BY BOBBY JACKSON AND MIKE BIBBY OVER AND OVER. AND THAT WAS FOUR YEARS AGO. YES HE CAN STILL MANAGE A GAME AND KNOCK DOWN A FEW OPEN JUMPERS BUT DEFENSIVELY HE IS AND HAS BEEN FOR AWHILE- A LIABILITY.
    HE IS A GOOD CHARACTER GUY SO I HOPE HE LEARNS TO BE CONTENT WITH A FEW RINGS, REALIZE HIS DAYS OF STARTING ARE A THING OF THE PAST AND BECOME A MENTOR TO DERON.

  • jim

    hundreds of millions of children and women are starving and abused throughout the planet, and you feel sorry for fisher because he isn’t a starting point guard.he knew exactly where he was going and what his role would be when he signed, or he doesn’t have a clue about talent.my guess is he does have more than a clue and accepted the windfall gladly. i can’t imagine sloan telling him he would start in front of deron. not his MO.

  • Marcus Thompson

    So is compassion and understanding only reserved for poor and hungry people? Better yet, is it not possible to feel sorry for both Fisher and the millions of children and women who are starving and abused? Even more, based on your comments, should we not feel sorry for the millions of starving and abused men, or just the women and children?