The road to hell might be paved with Derek Fisher jump shots.
The ones where he catches the ball on a kick out, waits for the defense to close out right on top of him, and rises up. Not over him. More into him than anything else. Then, at the top of his jump, he lets the ball fly out of that left handed sling shot of his. The ball spins and spins, like a ballerina with two broken legs, away from him and toward the goal, only to bang off the rim and fall to the wood below. The ball bounces off the wood. Sometimes out of bounds. Sometimes into the wanting and waiting hands of an opposing player. Someone awful. Reggie Evans or something.
Note: This is when he isn’t pump faking, driving baseline super wildly into the teeth and arms of the much younger defense, hurling a “layup” toward the top of the backboard while falling down, missing the shot, pulling his mouthpiece out of his mouth, and looking back at the referee with a “Come on! Really? You’re not gonna call that? Wow,” look on his face. That is the face that comes to me in my nightmares and tells me my parents don’t love me and Bill Murray died.
Around that time several thousand people in Oklahoma groan. Some of them cuss. Some cry. Some throw things. Some tweet. Some ask where Russ is. Some ask where Reggie is. Some shout at Fisher. Some shout at Presti. Some at Brooks. Some just shout to God.
Why? Why? Why?
Fisher, ever the master o’ intangibles, does not let this get to him. He sprints back down to the defensive end of the floor, but only after swiping at the dribbler for no reason at all. He finds the ball and squats down in a defensive stance so statuesque and pretty that you know nothing good can come from it because vanity will always fail you. The dribbler, whether they are quick or not, has the advantage. They have the advantage because they are them and they are not Derek Fisher. That relationship is represented in the formula below:
Derek Fisher < Anything that has been or ever will be on this earth
The dribbler finishes sizing him up and takes off. In less than half of one second they are by him and have inserted themselves into the heart of the Thunder defense, breaking them down, making them vulnerable. Someone in Thunder blue somewhere in Bricktown rolls their eyes. Fisher, though, is “scrappy”, provides a “veteran presence”, and will “lead by example”. This means that he will not give up on the play. He will scramble, slowly, to catch back up to the dribbler. He does so just as the dribbler leaves his feet. The dribbler is now the shooter. He is attempting a layup. Because of his great leadership, Fisher must attempt to steal the ball from the shooter. It is then that Fisher catches the shooter on the arm. When this happens, the shooter does not lose the ball because he is stronger than Fisher. (See: equation above.)
The ball leaves the shooter’s hands around the time the referee blows his whistle. The ball then falls through the net. Then the official calls a foul on Fisher. Fisher will not agree with this call. He’ll look at him with the look described previously and shake his head while Hubie Brown tries to find a polite way to say Derek Fisher is a disaster.
Then Thunder fans everywhere hope for the sweet sounds of the buzzer. They pray, then, for the camera to show Russ or Reggie tucking their jersey back in, wiping their shoes down, pointing at Fisher, and getting him off the floor and out of our lives.
At least until he does it again. Which he will. Because he’s Derek Fisher.