The combination of the two guards, as opposed to one overshadowing the other has worked better for the Lakers than anticipated. Actually, Blake hasn’t come significantly close to even equaling Fisher’s minutes. He’s still only played an average of 19 minutes per game to Fisher’s 27 minutes. Don’t blame Blake for being unable to lighten Fisher’s load. Fisher is proving himself too valuable to be out of Jackson’s line-up. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, in the early go around, Fisher has been putting up an average of 9.9 points per game on 46.8 percent shooting and 66.7 percent beyond the arc. Not that Blake’s averages of 7.4 points per game on 43.2 percent shooting and 50 percent in three-point land are pedestrian either.
So what if Fisher doesn’t have the foot speed to keep up with every quick point guard in the league? Okay, maybe that’s a concern, but to say Fisher doesn’t contribute to defense is incorrect. What Fisher brings to the defensive table are steals, charges and a knack for getting a hand in to break a play for the opposing team. For example, in an otherwise uncontested attack, Fisher tipped the ball out of bounds off DeMar DeRozan to protect the Lakers 93-90 lead over the Raptors just a few nights ago. We saw it in Sacramento also, when he displayed flashes of the same hustle plays from just a few months earlier during game 3 of the NBA Finals.
“I get as much and sometimes more, you know, joy, satisfaction, gratification out of the little plays,” Fisher told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Brian Kamenetzky Friday after the Lakers win over the Raptors. “Those little things that make the difference, you know they might not show up on the stats sheet every time, but because your teammates or coaches recognize those things…that’s when it means the most.”
The relationship between the two guards isn’t competitive, but rather cooperative. They can be integrated into the line-up, regardless of which starts, accommodating to each other’s style to get the job done. Already reaping the results of having Blake available to come in for Fisher, Jackson has been able to keep Fisher’s minutes between that all-to-important 25-30 minutes range.
It seems as though Jackson has a problem on his hands that 29 other coaches in the NBA would love to have. He’s got two very efficient, game-changing and scrappy guards, who can produce numbers at almost the same rate of efficiency, in a moment’s notice.
It’s only one of the many facets of this Lakers squad attributing to their 7-0 start.