Fisher, Perkins hindering Thunder from being best team
With the NBA Draft approaching, the Thunder have plenty to ponder as they contemplate whom to take with the 12th and 29th picks of the first round.
I’ll admit it: I’m not a big fan of either player. I’m a self-proclaimed Fisher and Perkins hater.
Don’t get me wrong, they both can do some good things.
Fisher is the quintessential seasoned vet, a great leader and a solid 3-point shooter.
Perkins is a solid on-the-ball defender in the post and brings a much-needed mean streak to an otherwise docile defense.
With six rings between the two, they’re proven winners. But as the old adage asks: What have you done for me lately?
The most memorable moment of the playoffs for Perkins came in game four against the Grizzlies, when he blocked Zach Randolph’s last-second shot and sent the game to overtime, seemingly silencing his critics and proving his value.
But in that same game, Perkins shot a paltry 1-of-5 from the field, committed five fouls and grabbed just two rebounds for a -6 plus-minus rating in 24 minutes of action in a game the Thunder would lose by six in overtime.
Fisher fared no better.
Despite his credentials, Fisher should not have been playing 24 minutes and hoisting up five 3-pointers per game in the playoffs — in game five against the Grizzlies, he took 11 triples and made only three of them. While Westbrook’s injury certainly forced Fisher to play more minutes as he spelled the newly appointed starter, Reggie Jackson, it shouldn’t have equated to a role as the new sixth man.
If the Thunder want to keep Fisher, sign him for another season, that’s their and general manager Sam Presti’s prerogative.
Veteran players still can contribute by providing leadership from the bench, and now that Thunder assistant coach and Westbrook-handler Mo Cheeks has gone to Detroit, it might not be a bad idea to hire Fisher onto OKC’s coaching staff.
But if OKC isn’t willing to do that, the Thunder at least can get him some nice tailored suits and tell him to have a seat next to the other coaches, a la Juwan Howard in Miami.
Fisher is 38 years old. He’s a below-average defender — a liability against many of the league’s quicker point guards — and the only part of his offensive game worth anything, his long-range shooting, is streaky.
If the Thunder choose to bring him back for another year, he’ll probably be signed at the league minimum again, so OKC won’t take much of a cap hit.
But keeping Perkins will cost the Thunder nearly $8.5 million, which would make him the fourth-highest paid player on the team.
Perkins is 28-going-on-40 and has the knees of a 50-year-old. He has no more lift, and his offense has degraded to the point that he struggles to hit wide-open jumpers from the foul line — shots opposing teams are more than willing to let him take.
Although the Thunder will have to pay the difference of his new contract, they would be well-served to amnesty Perkins and allow someone else to pick him up out of the bargain bin.
I’m not arguing that these two aren’t great leaders or weren’t once solid players. But there time has passed them.
At the end of the day, you have to be able to play basketball better than the other team.
And Fisher and Perkins are hindering Oklahoma City from doing that.
Dillon Phillips is a professional writing senior.