2011-12 NBA Season: Analysis of the Derek Fisher Trade

On March 15, the announcement was made. Derek Fisher and a second round pick had been traded for Jordan Hill. This came on the heel of another trade that brought Ramon Sessions to the Lakers as well. While some automatically see this trade as a win for the Lakers, upon closer examination, that is not the case. 

From the Lakers point of view, they cut ties with an aging point guard for a young front court prospect. Not that I wouldn't make the decision if it was as simple as that, but there's more to consider. First off, from a basketball standpoint, Fisher is important in clutch situations. It seems that no matter what his stats show, Fisher can usually be relied on for key baskets. Without him, teams can now focus in on Kobe Bryant without paying as much attention to the other players. We've already seen what happens when a situation like this occurs with the Clippers. When Chauncey Billups was injured, opposing teams were able to focus more on Chris Paul down the stretch. Having a clutch player like Billups or Fisher is important to the mind set of players, because without them, the other players don't have a go to guy down the stretch, leading to less confidence.

More important than his actual performance, Derek Fisher is the team leader, someone who kept together this turbulent locker room. Even if the leader is not seen as vital by management, then in the players minds, they have to wonder who is. Even Kobe Bryant, another team leader, was upset by the trade. If the two leaders of the team are either upset or gone, then the mentality of the other players will most likely suffer. That's not to say that the Lakers got nothing in return. Jordan Hill does help the Lakers a little bit. Josh McRoberts wasn't really cutting it as a back up, so Jordan Hill does provide a bit of toughness and youth in the post. But one has to wonder, was sacrificing the team captain and possibly losing the trust of your players important...

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