L.A. Lakers: Does the 2011 NBA Draft Signal the End of the Derek Fisher Era?

If anyone had any doubts as to whether or not Los Angeles Lakers point guard Derek Fisher would be returning to the team for the 2011-12 regular season, then the 2011 NBA draft may have provided enough evidence to support the opinion that Fisher's days as a Laker are done.

The Lakers chose two point guards with their first two picks in the draft, and although this is not conclusive proof that Fisher will not wear the purple and gold next season, it does seem to signal the intent of the franchise to move in another direction.

And that direction is likely as far away from Fisher as possible, despite all that he has meant to the franchise over the last decade.

Fisher's miracle .04 second shot against the San Antonio Spurs in the postseason captured the hearts of Lakers fans everywhere, and he only capitalized on the adoration with clutch NBA Fionals performances in 2009 and 2010.

No one will ever deny how important Fisher has been to the Lakers success and his five championship rings illustrate that fact, but it's equally difficult to dismiss how much of a defensive liability he has become.

Fisher simply doesn't have the quickness to stay in front of opposing point guards, and if his outside shot is not falling, he brings no value when he is on the court.

This has actually been true for the last three regular seasons but Fisher has managed to summon up key performances in the postseason such as his three-point daggers that helped push the Lakers past Orlando in the 2009 NBA Finals, and his play on the road against the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the 2010 NBA Finals.

But Fisher could not find any of that same magic in 2011, and after Jason Terry's 9-for-10 performance from the three-point line in the Dallas Mavericks' dominant Game 4 victory in the West Semifinals, Fisher's career as a Laker would appear to be done.

The Lakers' first two picks in this year's NBA Draft we...

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