Stealing that extra bow
I have always been a fan of Ramon Sessions since his days in Milwaukee and his one odd and humdrum year in Minnesota. I remained a fan as career stagnated in Cleveland post LeBron, though his numbers were quite good during his first season with the Cavaliers. Better than those of Brandon Jennings in 2010-11, for comparison. Now, Sessions finds himself on one of the most storied franchises in NBA history and he is primed for a breakout moment. The moment I have long been waiting for. The moment to leap into the spotlight and get the attention he deserves. Or at the very least the 15 minutes Andy Warhol guaranteed him.
Though his game is at times methodical and probing, knowing when to and where to get the ball to his teammates, he has flashes of quickness and swagger, pulling up for an open, timely, three or driving the lane in order to collapse a defense and find the open man. In his short time with the Lakers, just four games totaling 100 minutes played, Sessions has shot a whopping 56.7 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from behind the 3-point arc, both of which, if they maintain present form, would blow away his previous highs in these categories (though that is unlikely based on the rule of averages). He has done all this to the tune of 17.3 points per 36 minutes. Yes, it is an incredibly small sample size and he is only playing an average of 25 minutes off the bench, so take everything with a grain of salt, but something has certainly clicked with Sessions and his new team.
The Honeymoon period is always is always a forgiving time, though. Look at the Knicks since Mike D’Antoni left: they haven’t lost. But Sessions has shown these flashes of brilliance in the past. He showed the same prowess once he became a starter to finish the 2008-09 season in Milwaukee and last season in Cleveland. This is more than just a grace period. This is Sessions melding into an offense, and team, he is comfortable with.
His average of six assists per contest further illustrate that point. This was most apparent in the Lakers’ win against a depleted Mavericks team on Wednesday night. Sessions totaled nine assists during that contest, 36 percent of the team’s assists for the evening. Since joining the team, he has tallied 27 percent of the team’s dimes and 41.8 percent of them while he is on the court. His effort is paying dividends for the Lakers’ offense as a whole. Zack Lowe of SI.com expands on just that:
…in the 100 minutes Sessions has played, the Lakers have scored 114 points per 100 possessions, a mark that would lead the league by a mile, according to NBA.com’s stats tool. The Lakers have been more efficient in just about every way possible during those 100 minutes…
With Sessions at the helm, Mike Brown‘s offense is finally making some headway. Lowe continues stating that the Lakers are also shooting more three-pointers with Sessions on the court, but this is largely do to his expended play with the second unit that does not consist of the Laker bigs looming in the post, where the ball is likely headed on many offensive sets.
Again, despite my wishful thinking, this is only the smallest of sample sizes. If they were to predicate a trend it would be a phenomenal one. Nonetheless, it has put Sessions on the map, being in L.A. has helped but his performance is what has made him note worthy and far more viable than any of the other point guards that Los Angeles has employed this season. No one is talking about Andrew Goudelock, after all.
Maybe it is too early to declare a breakout for Sessions. Maybe my dreams will have to wait. Whatever the case, he has certainly made the Lakers a scarier team. I have no doubt that he will secure the starting point guard role before season’s end as Steve Blake has been a shell of whatever he once was. There is obviously still a learning curve for Sessions with his new team and Mike Brown will likely keep him in a reserve role until he feels that Sessions has a solid grasp of the offense. That is understandable.
This is Sessions moment. Now is the time my oddly self-serving desire to see him explode onto the national scene can be realized. The interesting thing is, with Sessions, he does not even need to be stellar. All he needs to do is perform well in a major market with consistency. At least then the casual fan will understand the impact he can have on the game, they will understand that he is a solid player capable of running the offense on a playoff team. No, he isn’t Derrick Rose or Chris Paul but he doesn’t need to be. A breakout for Sessions is the notoriety that he deserves. Through four games he just may have gained it.