Eventually Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will hang up his storied sneakers, and by all indications center Andrew Bynum will assume the role of the team's leading act. But will Bynum have the stage all to himself?
The Lakers refusal to deal Bynum before this year's NBA trade deadline was a strong show of faith by management, especially when it was recently revealed that Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard may have been available.
Aside from Bynum's occasional emotional lapses he has rewarded general manager Mitch Kupchak with the best season of his career while posting impressive numbers across the board.
Bynum is third in the NBA in rebounding at 11.9 per game, he connects on 57 percent of his shots from the field which also ranks third and he is fifth in the NBA in blocks at 2.0 per game.
Not to mention he is the Lakers' second leading scorer at 18.4 points per game, and has become the team's clear No. 2 offensive option behind Bryant.
However, unlike Bryant a true low post center like Bynum is only effective when he has a perimeter player who gets him the ball. Have the Lakers found that player in new point guard Ramon Sessions?
Sessions has taken Laker Nation by storm, and the improvement over the departed Derek Fisher and demoted Steve Blake has been dramatic.
Sessions' speed and ability to penetrate the lane makes him an ideal fit for Lakers coach Mike Brown's dribble-drive motion offense, but I'm not sure if anyone expected Sessions to be this good this fast.
Sessions' debut with the Lakers has been every bit as impressive as New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin, especially when you consider that Sessions shares the ball with Bryant, Bynum and forward Pau Gasol.
Since arriving in Los Angeles, Sessions has averaged 13.7 points per game and 7.3 assists and he is shooting 51 percent from the field and 52 percent from the three-point line.
More importantly Sessions has proven that his presence on the court has the potential to make everyone around him better, but has the 26-year-old lead guard shown enough to warrant a long-term contract?
Under Sessions' current deal he has a player option for $4.5 million in in 2012-13, but it is reasonable to think the Lakers could sign the five year player to an extended deal that pays somewhere in the range of $6-8 million per year.
That's pretty inexpensive for a player who could possibly contribute 15 points and 10 assists on a regular basis, and beyond Sessions the Lakers' future options at point guard are pretty slim anyway.
I guess the Lakers could make a run at acquiring soon to be free agent point guard Deron Williams, but is potentially losing Gasol really worth adding Williams?
And due to the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement acquiring Williams might be nearly impossible anyway.
Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings is another option, but he and Sessions have similar games, and Sessions may have a leg up in the distribution category, which is important when you play with three other All-Stars.
Sessions is young enough and inexpensive enough for the Lakers to take a small gamble on, and the promise he is showing now may only be the tip of the iceberg.
Imagine how good Sessions might look with a full season under his belt, and the time to establish real chemistry with his teammates?
The Lakers took a chance and found a diamond in the rough when they drafted Bynum as a 17-year-old high school player out of New Jersey.
Maybe the Lakers have found another rare gem in Sessions.
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