Fortunately for the Lakers, as old (in basketball years) as he may be, as slow on defense as you may think he is, Fisher is still valuable to the team in other respects. The triangle offense relies more on inside post play and scoring in the paint. It’s all based on reads and rhythm, spacing and cutting. If all else fails, the ball is given to Kobe Bryant who can run the pick and roll with Gasol or simply create his own shot at will. The Lakers don’t need a Chris Paul or Derrick Rose to run the triangle offense. They need a guy like Fisher who works hard while he’s on the floor, lets Kobe do his thing, and when open, spots up and shoots.
Of course, it never hurts when the ball goes through the hoop and the net goes “swish.”
Aside from being one of the designated vocal leaders on the team, Fisher contributes on defense much more than people think. Many times his activity on defense has caused the opposing team to turn the ball over, sometimes even at the most opportune times for the Lakers. When he’s in position to take a charge, he takes it willingly.
Don’t forget that every so often he’ll unleash his inner-thespian, getting the offensive foul call by creating contact and flopping on the play. No one sells it better than Fisher.
It isn’t fair to say that Fisher doesn’t contribute, because he does. His production may not be as consistent on offense as the coaching staff and fans would like, but defensively he always puts forth the effort. Regardless of what happens during the regular season, his production during the playoffs, to this point, has been stellar. Who could forget the various three point shots he nailed during the series with Orlando in 2009 or game three against Boston last year in the finals.
A player’s production value isn’t calculated by public persona and sentiment, but in Fishers case, he’s at least earned the right to garner our respect. Yes, it is customary for older players to step down when the time’s right, but clearly for the Lakers there isn’t anyone on the roster whose game demands enough consideration for Jackson to make-over the starting unit.
We all may just have to wait a little longer for a changing of the guards.