Derek Fisher isn’t typically known as somebody who makes headlines with his quotes, but while talking to Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Radio, the veteran point guard did speak up for himself when asked if he was the weak spot in the Los Angeles Lakers NBA Playoff series versus the Dallas Mavericks.
“I think most of those people are looking at stats when they say that. They’re looking at numbers and saying, ‘This guy scores more and has more assists and he’s more important to his team,’" Fisher told Smith (as transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews). "That’s fine. I understand there’s a lot of people out there like that. But the reality of it is the votes that count the most are my teammates, my coaches, first and foremost, and then real basketball people from within the game. … They understand the value that a player like myself brings to the team.”
The veteran might actually be on to something when saying that as there’s obviously a reason Phil Jackson continues to keep Fisher in the starting lineup, but there’s no doubt — even in his mind — that the Lakers as a whole are losing a step as each year passes.
“I think Father Time is knocking at everybody’s door. Every team in professional sports has to deal with the realities and demands of every season. For us, this is our fourth consecutive run at possibly winning the championship and having a chance to win three consecutive championships. That takes a toll," Fisher told Smith. "So there’s no question that we’ve been impacted by the run that we’ve been on. At the same time, that has no real impact on the ability to perform and perform at a high level when you get out there on the court. … It’s about execution, it’s about poise, it’s about experience, it’s about understanding time and situations.”
Whether that veteran experience will be enough to upend another veteran laden group in the Mavericks during the Lakers second-round playoff series will be decided soon enough.