Derek Fisher's starting role not guaranteed (VIDEO)

December, 3, 2011
12/03/11
7:59
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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More from Friday's press conference...

Mike Brown was asked if, given the change the Lakers will see going from the triangle to his system, Derek Fisher's role will change. He noted some of the similarities between what he wants to do and the offense L.A. has run for most of the last decade-plus, and that in his early offense, "our 1, 2, and 3's are interchangeable."

Meaning whoever gets the outlet after the board is welcome to push the ball up the floor.

It was something of a non-answer, but then when asked if he envisioned Fish at his starter Brown didn't commit. "Possibly," he said. "I think when we get to camp and everything checks out, I'll have a better feel."

I respect the fact Brown didn't do the easy thing, namely declaring Fisher the starter, despite what surely is an acute awareness both of Fisher's lofty place in the locker room, his desire to continue starting, and the chatter it could cause should Brown decide to bring Fisher off the bench. He didn't allow himself to get locked into anything, or create a certain set of expectations.

All important stuff for a guy filling a major influence and prestige vacuum in Phil Jackson's wake. Brown's handling of the point guard situation and others like it will be important in establishing the working relationship between him and his players. Ironically, it's on the court where his final call is likely to have the smallest impact. Starting is in many ways a cosmetic honor. The reality is Brown could start Fisher but not play him starters minutes, going more often with Steve Blake. He could start Blake, but still lean on Fish down the stretch. There are different ways to skin this cat.

Still, as we've mentioned (as recently as this week's edition of The Forum), while much of the focus is on how Brown and Kobe Bryant will work together, Brown's first real test as Lakers coach may not have anything to do with 24, but .4. Not that I'm expecting issues, but should Brown choose to, moving Fish to the bench will require a little management and touch.

Click below for more video...

Here, Brown and Mitch Kupchak discuss the potential impact of Fisher's long, grueling offseason run leading the NBPA in the CBA negotiations. It's a legitimate concern, no question:

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0