3. SAN ANTONIO
I never thought I’d see the day when a team would be going for Patty Mills instead of Derek Fisher. The Spurs are still the Spurs correct? They haven’t been infested with The Walking Dead have they? This whole “get younger, more athletic” thing is great. It’s worked out for them, most especially with Kawhi Leonard. But Patty Mills has as much of a chance as anyone on the Charlotte Bobcats of contributing something in the playoffs. That is, none.
Alas, it seems that’s who the Spurs want to backup Tony Parker, the guy more known for his accent and flipping out on Blazer benches during his time in the NBA. But who am I to question Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford? I do know Fisher would fit right in on this team and give San Antonio solid minutes off the bench in the playoffs. Defensively? The Spurs are just No. 17 in defensive efficiency as it is so what’s one more cone for opposing guards to dribble through?
For me, it just comes down to this: San Antonio has realistically, one, maybe two more runs at this before Tim Duncan jumps in a pool for good and Manu Ginobili retires with no hair. Patty Mills isn’t a bad player, but Fisher fits. Plus, being that San Antonio always brings out the best in everyone (Danny Green? Matt Bonner? Gary Neal?), I’d expect him to start banging triples like Steve Kerr in Game 6 of the 2003 West Finals the moment he’d put on a Spur uniform.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Heat are hot on Fisher’s heels. They should be. Mario Chalmers might be shooting 43 percent from deep, and might have sneaky quick hands on defense. But he’s also prone to making stupid mistakes. I once saw the dude commit four turnovers on four consecutive possessions. How you do that playing with two of the best players in the world, I have no idea.
But his backup, Norris Cole, makes Chalmers look as steady as an AZ album. Cole can’t shoot (barely 30 percent from the arc), and averages nearly two giveaways a game in just 20 minutes. Do you think the Big Three trust him to come through in the playoffs? I doubt it. Fisher might be decaying, but he can still pull a rabbit out of a hat every once in a while in the fourth quarter.
There are only a few in the league with the gall to challenge LeBron, and coaches who demand that kind of respect are even fewer. Mike Brown wasn’t one of them. Erik Spoelstra, the capable statistician that he is, doesn’t seem like one either. Fisher, based on his championships, big-money shots and time spent in the glow of Hollywood, could be that guy. He knows Kobe. LeBron knows that. Put two and two together.
You’re going to tell me a word here or there about big-game balls won’t help LeBron? Fisher is basically the only guy in the league Kobe will pass to in the final minute of a close game (Okay, we’ll give him a little more credit than that. Add Pau Gasol and I guess Andrew Bynum to that list.). He has a few secrets he can share with James.
1. OKLAHOMA CITY
Marc Stein reports Miami and Oklahoma City have emerged as the favorites to land Fisher. But if I’m Fisher, I’m heading out to meet with Sam Presti and signing on the dotted line ASAP. No team needs him more. No team has more to gain or a better cast of characters to surround him with. No one can cover his shortcomings better. And no one gives him a better chance at matching up again with the Lakers.
Since Eric Maynor went down for the year, the Thunder’s second unit has been headlined by rookie Reggie Jackson. With a PER of 9.56, he’s almost as bad in that regard as Fisher, and I honestly can remember seeing Jackson make a play all season. OKC has faith he’ll develop, but why not bring in Fisher for now seeing as you have everything to make him feel comfortable (athletes on the wings to help him when he inevitably gets beat) and wanted (someone to run the offense in the fourth quarter so Russell Westbrook can be free to indulge himself).
The Lakers might fancy themselves a West contender now, but honestly, there’s no way they beat OKC in a playoff series. It ain’t happening, especially when you think about the Thunder’s almost comically crazy fans in one of the best atmospheres in the NBA, and the Lakers pure resistance to giving even a half-ass effort on the road. I’m sure Fisher is licking his lips at the chance to beat the guys who drove the knife into his back.
Where should Fisher play?
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