Sessions and Bryant
For the past few years, the Los Angeles Lakers have been desperately searching for Derek Fisher's successor at the point guard possession. Well, their franchise point guard has arrived in Ramon Sessions.
Over the past few seasons, the rapid decline in Fisher's level of play has been extremely detrimental to the veteran squad. Not only is he a defensive liability against other athletic guards, like Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul, but the elder statesman's offensive production has plummeted.
Before being shipped to Houston, where he would be waived, the 36-year-old was averaging just six points and three assists per night in 25 minutes of action. Ouch.
Despite winning two championships in the last five years, there has been no doubt serious changes were needed at the point guard position. The acquisition of Sessions is this much-needed change.
Sessions, who was averaging 10 points and five assists in 24 minutes of action before being shipped to the Lakers, is a young, athletic guard capable of penetrating to the rim with effectiveness and locking down opponent guards. Plus, the 25-year-old can shoot the three-ball with efficiency, as he is currently shooting 42 percent from deep.
Sure, Sessions has never been a true starter since arriving to the Association, but this isn't a testament to his inability. He hasn't ever received the opportunity due to always being at a franchise at the wrong time.
In Milwaukee, the Bucks already possessed a quality point guard in Luke Ridnour, who stole many minutes from the younger Sessions.
With the Timberwolves, Ramon Sessions was also relegated to the bench due to Minnesota's interest in seeing how much potential young guard Jonny Flynn had at the time.
His tenure in Cleveland played out in extremely similar fashion, as he was tossed to the side in favor of rookie sensation Kyrie Irving.
However, don't be surprised to see Sessions acquire the starting point guard position from temporary starter Steve Blake.
Since arriving in Los Angeles, Sessions has become a intricate part in the team's success. He is shooting nearly 57 percent from the field while scoring 12 points per game. Against the rival Dallas Mavericks, the former Nevada star put up 17 points, racked up nine assists and grabbed five boards.
But there are a few who expect Steve Blake to retain his current job. The Los Angeles Times' Mark Medina reports, "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."
Nonetheless, Ramon Sessions brings a spark to the Lakers they didn't previously possess. Not only does he increase Los Angeles' title chances, but he may even prolong the career of franchise cornerstone Kobe Bryant.
In the past few seasons, 33-year-old Bryant has changed his game to cope with his declining athleticism. Early in his career, Bryant was known as a fearsome penetrator and high-flyer. Currently, Kobe relies heavily on his three-point jumper and ridiculous fadeaway. That is not to say Kobe lost all his jumping ability, as he still is more than capable of creating a few memorable slams.
With Sessions, Bryant can rely even more on hitting jumpers, as the new point guard will be able to open the floor for the veteran. This may be somewhat new to Bryant, as Sessions may be the best point guard he has ever teamed up with.
After all, Bryant spent a majority of his career with the likes of Derek Fisher, a near-retired Gary Payton and Smush Parker.
Plus, Sessions will help alleviate the pressure of Bryant to score to keep the Lakers competitive. With this new relief, Bryant may be able to prevent injury.
After Wednesday's demolition of the Mavericks, Bryant elaborated on how Sessions affects his game.
"I've been extremely impressed," Bryant said. "He takes a lot of pressure off of me. I can be a legitimate 2-guard now. Know what I mean? He can play-make for others. Before, I had to score and play-make for others, as well. I don't have to do that. I can be on the receiving end of those plays."
In the end, Sessions may become vital in Bryant's quest to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leading scorer in NBA history.