Each month the Lakers Nation writers will tackle an issue, giving their take at the question at hand. In our first installment of writers roundtable, the writers will debate which Lakers’ player is the most underrated player of all-time. Here are their viewpoints:
Suki Thind: Derek Fisher
I’m going to stray from what I anticipate most people would say and go with Derek Fisher here. Why? Simply because I’m biased (first of all, I’m not old enough to have witnessed all the 1980s teams, and didn’t really get into basketball until the 2000s), and Derek Fisher is still one of my favorite players.
But, I will try to make a legitimate argument at the same time.
At the beginning of almost every season, many Lakers fans would complain about how there needed to be an upgrade at the point guard position. There’s no doubt Fisher’s production could never match the likes of Lakers’ rivals Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Russell Westrbrook, etc., but the guy always seemed to make the right play at the right time. Not only that, but his presence and calm on the floor made it easy for younger guys to simply focus on the task at hand. His leadership and motivational techniques truly earned the respect of his teammates–especially future Hall-of-Famer Kobe Bryant; there was nobody on the floor Bryant trusted more than D-Fish.
We can talk about all the times Fisher got beaten off the dribble by a quick point guard, but the fact is, as a team, the Lakers were still able to beat the likes of All-Star guards such as Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd, Mike Bibby, Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash, and Rajon Rondo with Fisher at the helm.
In one of my very first articles for Lakers Nation, I chronicled all of Fisher’s big-time shots, but also went on to say that it was always his leadership that made him such a magnificent player for the Lakers. Yet at the same time, year after year, fans would continually come up to me when I would wear my #2 jersey–especially after a tough loss–and say “Man, they need to get rid of Fisher, he’s too old!” and I would respond “Just wait, wait until it’s a big game and we need him to come through.” Sure enough, D-Fish never let me down, and anytime he would hit a big shot, I would throw it right in the faces of whoever was doubting him just days earlier (or even months earlier, because I always took note of it).
I’m sure there are other players just as “underrated” as Derek Fisher, but to me, I don’t see how every season a guy who made it to seven NBA Finals with the Lakers (six as a starter) and won five championships (four as a starter) could be continually doubted time after time after time. To me, he always had to prove himself, and when it really mattered, he did.
Next Page: Jabari Davis’ Take