Derek Fisher brings experience to Dallas Mavericks' backcourt
11/29/2012 11:15 PM
11/29/2012 11:20 PM
DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks are hoping Derek Fisher can do for them what Jason Kidd did the previous five years -- bring them some savvy leadership at the point guard position.
Kidd was a major influence on not only the Mavericks' point guards, but also on the entire team with his leadership and the calming influence he brought to the court. The Mavericks are expecting the same thing from Fisher, who they signed to a one-year, pro-rated contract Thursday.
"When you've had the likes of Jason Kidd on this team, that's a really tough act to follow," said Donnie Nelson, the Mavericks' president of basketball operations. "This gives us an opportunity to add someone that's got a little bit of experience and knows what it takes to win, and it'll give us a little bit of that influence."
To make room for Fisher, the Mavericks waived forward Troy Murphy, who averaged 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds in 14 games this season for Dallas.
Fisher, 38, has enjoyed a star-studded career, with 121/2 years of his 16-year career spent with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Little Rock native won five NBA titles with the Lakers, and also played in three other NBA Finals, including last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Mavericks have been inconsistent at point guard with Darren Collison, Dominique Jones, Rodrigue Beaubois and rookie Jared Cunningham. Collison missed Wednesday's 101-78 blowout loss to the Chicago Bulls with a sprained right middle finger, but he hopes to play Saturday at home against the Detroit Pistons.
However, even before Collison missed the game against the Bulls, the Mavs had major concerns with their point guards. Fisher, they believe, will help with that learning process.
"Collison is going to benefit as much as anyone from [the addition of Fisher]," Nelson said. Nelson said the Mavericks have not lost confidence in their four point guards.
"We're not down on any of our point guards," Nelson said. "This is an opportunity for us to get a player of Derek's caliber that can help us through a real rough patch of games. We've got a bunch of road games coming up and we need all hands on deck."
Fisher, who will play against the Pistons, has career averages of 8.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game, in 26.2 minutes per game. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder has shot 40 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from 3-point range.
"We think D-Fish will have a big impact on the court and in helping our young guards," owner Mark Cuban said. "Our guards are so young we wanted someone who can provide them support and also come into a game and provide us the value and impact of his experience."
Nelson acknowledged that there was no consideration to turn to Delonte West, who played last season for the Mavs and was released on Oct. 29 after twice being suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.
"Derek was the guy," Nelson said. "Really what we're looking for is someone that can bring exactly what he's all about."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760
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