The Oklahoma City Thunder will be making their first NBA Finals appearance (as the Thunder) tomorrow versus the Miami Heat. But for veteran guard Derek Fisher, it won't be his first.
Outside of Nazr Mohammed (won a title with the Spurs) and Kendrick Perkins (won a title with the Celtics), Fisher is a five-time NBA champion and it is safe to say he has been there and definitely done that on more than one occasion.
But for the rest of the OKC squad, it is going to be an eye-opening experience. Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, Nick Collison and the other young Thunder players will be smacked with the national spotlight on them and the scrutiny of media bearing down to nitpick every turnover, play, decision, on a whole other level.
This is where Fisher comes in.
Fisher would be the one player on the roster for the young guns of OKC to lean on, learn from and soak in all that championship experience Fisher brings to the table when he was signed late in the regular season.
Well Fisher thinks otherwise.
Fisher says there is nothing he can say to his young Thunder teammates and that they must experience all this on their own.
"With my experience, I've found it better to on some level allow guys to experience things for themselves in its natural state," said Fisher, who has won five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and spent the 2006-07 season with the Utah Jazz. "You can't always tell someone what they should feel or what they should be thinking as they get ready to go into what may be the biggest moment of their life or their career.
"I think it's important to allow people to be who they are and experience it the way they naturally would."
Spoken like a true veteran and he is right.
Look, OKC got here by riding their young guns. Fisher and the rest of the veteran players chipped in and helped but it was the play of the young players that got them here for a chance at an NBA title. Now, I am sure if OKC faces adversity during the series, Fisher will speak up and settle the team down. But in the end, the Thunder's young core is at the forefront and it won't be up mostly up to Fisher to secure the series win.
The Thunder will be nervous, and will have anxiety piling up before game time and that is just natural. Something Fisher has done numerous times during the NBA Finals in his NBA career and hopefully, the rest of the Thunder can experience many times over.
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