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Derek Fisher reveals the most underrated players from Lakers’ back-to-back titles

Derek Fisher, Lakers, Metta World Peace, Kobe Bryant, Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum,

In the second part of our 10th-anniversary series reflecting on the back-to-back titles won by the Los Angeles Lakers, Derek Fisher talks about the players on these championship teams that didn’t get the credit that they deserved for the roles they played in the team’s success.

Although this team was stacked with talented players with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol at the forefront, Fisher names two players, in particular, that helped give these squads the right boost leading to the first of their back-to-back titles in ’09. The Lakers were able to get the best of Dwight Howard’s Orlando Magic in five games followed by an epic seven-game series that went the distance against arch-rival Boston Celtics a year later with Ron Artest a.k.a. Metta World Peace stepping up for the purple and gold.

Fisher’s statement is featured in Episode 1 of ClutchPoints’ Kobe docuseries titled “The Final Ring.”

In terms of the 08-09 team, I would say, Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza,” Fisher said of who deserves more credit. “And then I would say the 09-10 team, I think Ron [Artest], everybody remembers what he did in the Finals against Boston hitting a three it really gave us a big push of momentum in that final game, but I thought that we were all kind of confused after Trevor didn’t come back after the ’09 win.

“It took us a while to get connected to Ron’s personality and the way he saw the game. We all respected him a great deal, but it was just new energy that we had to figure out how to work with. He was very deferential to Kobe and myself and the veteran guys we already had there. He wanted to fit in, and so I think that he doesn’t get enough credit for finding a way to fit into a very, very strong group that was already built when he arrived, but he found the right balance of being himself and doing what he felt like what would allow him to be successful individually, but fitting that into a team dynamic that was successful without him. That’s not an easy thing to do. I thought that he did a great job of finding that balance.”

Although the championship team in 2010 is remembered for a lot of reasons like Kobe Bryant’s last title, pulling off the back-to-back, and taking down the hated Celtics, Fisher is more fond of the team that won in 2009. The five-time NBA champion shared his thoughts on why he liked the squad in 2009 compared to the one that pulled off the repeat in 2010.

We get forgotten about because of the 2010 team and playing the Celtics,” Fisher said of the ’09 Lakers squad. “Other than Artest in ’10, it’s that team. Artest gave us a little bit more of a physical kind of like a football-style team that worked well for us with specific matchups. That ’09 team would stand the test against any team today for sure. I’m not saying that we are better than or whatever, but when you look at how the game is played and the skillsets of the different players, I think that ’09 team would be fun to get out there with.”

An interesting stance from Fisher on these two squads, especially considering the fact he believes the ’09 team could hold up against any team in the NBA today even with the drastic change in playing style.

Stay tuned for the third installment of this in series in which Fisher gets into what turned out to be reignited rivalry with the Celtics.