The Lakers did attempt to transition a guard to take over Fisher’s minutes or at least match them. Someone who could churn out the same production value Fisher brought while on the court. Javaris Crittenton (at the time), Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown (in 2008) were all brought for a shot at eating the bulk of Fisher’s minutes and inheriting a spot in the starting line-up. Three years and a new contract for Fisher later, the job is still available, Crittenton enjoying an extended vacation, Farmar now playing for the Nets and Shannon Brown still a Laker, but being groomed for other purposes.
Enter Steve Blake. It was never a question that Farmar was unhappy in Phil Jackson’s system, his departure from the Lakers eminent. What caught most people by surprise was the Lakers’ front office move on the second day of free agency, signing Blake to a 4-year $16 million dollar contract. Lakers fans should have no reason to doubt the front office after what they’ve been able to do for the franchise over the last few years, and this was no exception. The signing of Blake was the right move.
Seven games into the young season, the expectations for Blake have been met, if not exceeded. He’s picked up the triangle offense seemingly quick, proved himself clutch by nailing back-to-back three point shots against Houston on opening night in the final seconds of the fourth quarter and unlike Farmar, actually wants to be here. In fact, Blake played the entire fourth quarter of that game against Houston, which led many to believe that he would see an equal amount of minutes as Fisher sooner rather than later.
“I’m not here to challenge him for a starting spot. I’m here to be his teammate,” said Blake. “He helps me if I’m on the court. We’re always communicating and trying to make each other better.”
Not that Fisher minds giving up his minutes to Blake, he’d probably be the first to tell you he’s okay with it so long as it’s in the best interest of the team.