NBA veteran Derek Fisher lifts the lid in the wake of Westbrook’s second coming this season.
They might be sorting out the kinks at this early stage, but Oklahoma City Thunder veteran Derek Fisher maintains the side can only be better for having Russell Westbrook back in the line-up.
Despite falling to the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers 114-104 last night, the Thunder got one of their key weapons back from injury in the form of Westbrook.
But the question has been asked by every analyst of the NBA and the Thunder is, how is number 0 going to fit in with a OKC side that has not missed a trick since he went down hurt for the second time this year?
Kevin Durant has been operating at numbers rarely seen in the past 30 years of the league, with with Westbrook normally commanding 15-25 shots a game when is on form, many wondered how much of an adjustment the side would have to make.
However, Fisher said it was negligible and said any side with a player the caliber of Westbrook waiting in the wings, would be foolish to not let him slip into his normal role.
“Russell Westbrook returned from his knee injury last week, and we’re all very happy to have him back. Russell being on the floor for us means, in a lot of ways, that we have our heartbeat again,” Fisher said.
“Russell isn’t just a dynamic basketball player statistically; he also has a dynamic presence. There’s no replacing his energy level and his voice, and he just brings a certain brand of toughness, confidence and swagger to our game as a team. I definitely think it’s a big step for us to get him back.
“There’s always an adjustment period for a player coming back off of an injury that has had him out for a while. You’re trying to do something that you haven’t done for weeks — or in Russell’s case, that you haven’t done in months.
“The reality is: It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. If you have to stop doing that thing for weeks or months, it takes a while for you to get used to doing it again. It takes even longer to do it at an elite or excellent level.
“So when you talk about playing professional basketball, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve gone to rehab, run through practice or participated in shootaround.
“There’s nothing that fully simulates playing the game itself. It takes time to re-adjust, really find that comfort level and get back to an elite All-Star, All-NBA caliber level guy like Russell is when he is at his best.”