Halfway through the season, that so many fans would be worried about the state of contract negotiations with Derek Fisher would have seemed odd. He was struggling and at the center of multiple criticisms surrounding the team, from weakness at point guard to a lack of consistent outside shooting.
Then the playoffs rolled around, and Fish, as he tends to do, stepped up, highlighted by a monster fourth quarter in Game 3 of the Finals in Boston. Suddenly, the notion of a Fisherless Lakers squad is enough to make people nervous.
It's not the first time we've ended up here. One reason, Fisher tells ESPNLA.com's Ramona Shelburne in a Q and A, is because people tend to focus on the wrong number when evaluating him:
"...It's the performance; it's not the age. It's the success of my performance and the teams' [performance] that should be judged. It doesn't matter if I'm 25 or 35 in terms of age, you don't need the birth certificate to figure out whether this guy can play. So for any critic or coach or GM or whatever, you're doing yourself a disservice if you're coming into a conversation with me focused on age. I have and continue to prove all those theories wrong and the other shoe is not about to drop just because I'm about to turn 36, so don't wait for that. If you're waiting for that, it's not going to happen..."
Fisher goes on to talk about his physical conditioning and workout regimen, the challenge of facing a litany of top shelf PG's in this year's playoffs, and why he lives in the San Fernando Valley.