The acquisition of point guard Ramon Sessions to the Los Angeles Lakers has created excitement and intrigue from the fanbase. Sessions symbolizes a new hope to make a legitimate run in the playoffs and land in the NBA Finals for the fourth time in five years.
Since Sessions' debut in purple and gold in last Friday's game again the Minnesota Timberwolves, this hope feels within reach among the Laker community. Sessions has played in three games since being traded to Los Angeles and has made a solid impression to the fans, his teammates, his coaches and to the front office.
Small forward reserve Matt Barnes has visibly benefited from the addition of Sessions. Barnes and Sessions have greatly improved the fast break and transition game. Barnes is averaging 12.3 points per game since playing with Sessions.
However, Mike Brown's decision to play Sessions off the bench and play Steve Blake as a starter has left most of the fanbase scratching their heads. The idea of starting Sessions seems clear to Laker fans, but the Lakers' first-year head coach has other plans.
Per the Los Angeles Times' Mark Medina, "It's definitely Steve's job for the foreseeable future. It might be his job for the rest of the year. I don't know. I like the combination of what we got with those two guys with Steve from the starting group and Ramon with the second unit."
While there is credibility in allowing Sessions to take time to learn the system and become acclimated in his new surroundings, the timing to do that is not now. There are three reasons why Mike Brown needs to make Ramon Sessions the starting point guard sooner rather than later.
Should Mike Brown Start Ramon Sessions Immediately?
First, there is the clear evidence that Sessions is already outperforming Steve Blake at this point. This is said with all due respect to Steve Blake. In just three games, Sessions is averaging 10.3 points, 5.0 assists and 1.3 turnovers in 23.7 minutes. Meanwhile, Blake is averaging 0.7 points, 3.7 assists and 1.7 turnovers.
Second, Sessions needs to get real time with the starting unit. Andrew Bynum is the focal point during the first-set rotation, which usually includes Troy Murphy, Matt Barnes, Andrew Goudelock and Ramon Sessions.
As stated above, Sessions and Barnes have quickly gelled in the second unit and Bynum benefits from the rapid ball movement that Sessions brings to the table. Now the Lakers need to see what type of improvement Session brings to the starting unit, especially with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
Finally, as the NBA nears the last month of the regular season, Sessions needs to get comfortable going up against the starting point guards in the Western Conference, such as Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Tony Parker.
The Lakers face the Thunder and the Clippers one more time each prior to the end of the regular season. The Lakers face the Spurs three times in April. These matchups will be critical in preparing Sessions to go head-to-head against the elite point guards in the West during the postseason.
While Brown trusted him to close the game against Houston on Tuesday, it is quite clear that Laker fans want Sessions in the starting lineup. There is a noticeable buzz in the arena when Sessions is on the court. He has quickly passed the test that he can improve the bench's performance. Now, it is time for Sessions to be tested as a starter.