DALLAS – In Derek Fisher’s first day as a Maverick, he wasn’t allowed to wear jersey No. 2, was given a bloody nose courtesy of an accidental elbow from a new teammate, and was all-but-handed the eventual starting point guard job in Dallas.
“I told the guys today, ‘This is not a pit stop’,” Fisher said. “This is not kind of the ‘final whatever’ before I decide to retire soon. I’m here to give everything I have to help this team right now and continue to build as we go through this season. We want to be in the postseason. We don’t want to go through this season and look back and feel like we could have done better.”
The Dallas Mavericks are trying to improve a position in which the team has struggled for answers. Look for Darren Collison to be unhappily demoted soon – maybe as soon as Saturday, when the Pistons come to town – and look for Fisher’s 17 years as an NBA bus driver to be utilized in the starting lineup.
“He’s probably going to be our starting point guard,” coach Rick Carlisle said Friday. “And we’ve got a great situation with him and Collison because we’ve got two really good players there.”
Collison hasn’t been very good, though, since Dallas’ 4-1 start. The Mavs have lost eight of the last nine.
How good is Fisher?
“For a guy who’s been sitting out, he’s obviously been working hard and taking care of himself,” Carlisle said. “It’ll take a while to get game-right, but he did a good job today and he’s going to help us.”
Fisher, 38, has been a clutch journeyman at his highest points … and may be something less in both those departments now. He was a titlist with the Lakers and a contributor for the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder last season.
This isn’t about mentoring. This is about milking something on the court from Fisher by a team that needs something it hasn’t been getting.
Fisher also isn’t getting his familiar No. 2 jersey. He’s settling for No. 6 after the organization opted to keep No. 2 (Jason Kidd’s old number) in the storage closet.