CRAIG KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Former Laker guard Derek Fisher brings veteran leadership to the young Golden State Warriors.
Fisher has a new view
Although he's traveled to Hawaii for training camp three times already in his career, Derek Fisher is enjoying a bit of a different view in his latest visit to the islands.
Fisher, who spent the first eight years of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, is back in the islands for yet another camp, this time as a member of the Golden State Warriors.
While the Lakers again hold camp in Honolulu this week, the Warriors are stationed at the BYU-Hawaii campus in Laie.
"It's different. This is my fourth trip to the islands and I've always been on the other side (of Oahu)," Fisher said after a Warriors practice. "It's a change, but one I'm enjoying. This side of the island is as or more beautiful as the other side."
Fisher is preparing for his second season with the Warriors at the team's camp on the North Shore and will return to the Stan Sheriff Center in Manoa to face his former team in preseason games Tuesday and Wednesday. Both games tip off at 7 p.m.
"You just come in here to do your business and get the season kicked off, so it's nice to just have your hotel and the gym," Fisher said of the team's accommodations in Laie and the Turtle Bay Resort. "It keeps thing simple and keeps guys focused."
Though often overshadowed by high-profile teammates, Fisher was a steady contributor to the Lakers' championship teams from 2000 to 2002.
He turned in perhaps the defining moment of his career in his final season with the Lakers, nailing a jumper with less than a second left in a dramatic playoff win over the San Antonio Spurs in 2004.
But not long after helping Los Angeles reach the NBA Finals that season, Fisher signed a free-agent contract with the Warriors, moving up the California coast and ending his run with the team that drafted him out of Arkansas-Little Rock in 1996.
Fisher averaged a career-high 11.9 points in his first season with Golden State, which finished 34-48 and tied the Lakers for fourth place in the Pacific Division.
The Warriors enter the new season hoping Fisher's experience and the dynamic backcourt duo of Baron Davis and Jason Richardson will lead to the franchise's first playoff berth in more than a decade.
Fisher is one of just three Golden State players with postseason experience -- Davis and Calbert Cheaney are the others -- and has played in 117 playoff games in his career. Davis and Calbert Cheaney combine for 43 games.
"Our goal this year is to improve and get better and I think it starts with Baron and Jason and myself, guys who have experience and can lead this team," Fisher said. "And we have to get our big guys the confidence they need to be the enforcers for us and score down low. We feel like we have the balance and the team to be successful, we just have to put it together."
Though he now lives in Northern California, Fisher manages to keep in touch with his former Lakers teammates, who know better than most what the NBA veteran can contribute to a young squad like Golden State.
"He brings a work ethic, he brings experience, and he brings professionalism -- how to act on and off the court," said Lakers forward Devean George, a teammate of Fisher's for five seasons.
After spending most of his career in the Southern California scene, Fisher said the Warriors are eager to provide fans in the Bay Area with a winning product.
"We want to give them a chance to see a team that every night they know has a chance to win and they know is going to be around for a long time," he said. "They've been the victim of seeing a different team or a different coach every other year almost. Now it seems like there's some pieces in place that this is a team that can grow together."
Fisher also welcomed moving out of the media glare that surrounded the Lakers for much of his career in Los Angeles, with daily dramas involving Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Phil Jackson often dominating the headlines.
"I've enjoyed the fact that after practice or after games that I'm asked basketball questions," Fisher said. "It's not so many questions about stuff that's going on off the court or things that have nothing to do with what just happened in the game or what's happening in practice."