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Derek Fisher's starting role comes at different circumstances

December 16, 2011 | 10:22 am

A new head coach, a new offense and a new push to upgrade at point guard left Derek Fisher's starting job in doubt.

Of course, some Lakers fans have clamored for years for this. Fisher can't keep up with speedy guards, they said. They noticed his inconsistent shooting. And though he brought locker-room clout and experience, those traits simply went ignored by his critics.

But amid the rapid change the Lakers have experienced since the NBA lockout ended, one thing remains the same: Coach Mike Brown has penciled in Fisher as his starting point guard.

"For me, I don't really assume one way or the other what's going to happen coming into a training camp," Fisher said. "I've never been given or guaranteed anything by any coach."

But in this case, Brown's plan to follow Phil Jackson's lead and keep Fisher at starting point guard hardly comes as a ringing endorsement. Fisher surely would've lost the spot had the Lakers secured Chris Paul, and Brown opened training camp saying it was only "possible" Fisher would keep his starting job.

And although Brown said he believes Fisher "fits better with the starting group" because of his experience, he made it clear that could change.

Fisher's role remains in question. He admitted as much when he said he's not that effective at driving at the rim. Both he and Kobe Bryant have downplayed their co-captain roles under new coaches and roster uncertainty, arguing that the incoming coaching staff is proving more vocal than Jackson's, minimizing their need to address their teammates.

But with his arms drenched in sweat after a shooting session that left him alone on the court Thursday, Fisher provided the perfect imagery of how he remains determined to stay afloat.

"Because of my age, there's not as many things I can do in terms of getting to the rim and getting to the basket," he said. "But my ability to space the floor as well as think smartly and make good decisions, still play solid defense, those are all things that are valuable to any team and any coach. I don't really doubt myself the same way some people do in terms of whether Phil is the coach or not."

But some people do have doubts, including Brown -- at least when it comes to keeping Fisher's starting job secure.

However, the current situation may be the best Fisher can hope for in an uncertain time and under less-than-ideal circumstances.


Chris Paul trade: Derek Fisher kept hands-off approach

Derek Fisher should still be named starting point guard

Mike Brown to start Derek Fisher -- but not Metta World Peace

-- Mark Medina

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