NBA Playoffs 2012: How Would You Rate Ramon Sessions so Far?
Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant have captured most of the headlines for the Los Angeles Lakers so far in the 2012 NBA Playoffs, but the steady if unspectacular play of new point guard Ramon Sessions does deserve at least a few lines in the story.
The point guard position was arguably one of the Lakers' most pressing issues until Sessions was acquired before the NBA trade deadline, but his surprisingly strong play mostly nullified that concern in the latter part of the regular season.
The same is true so far in the playoffs as well.
Sessions' 14.3 points per game, 5 assists and 4 rebounds in the postseason are nothing to get excited about, but Sessions has for now erased the notion that the lead guard position will be the downfall of the Lake in the playoffs.
And Sessions has the potential to get even better as the postseason progresses.
Sessions had his best game of the playoffs in the Lakers' 99-84 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of their first-round series, finishing with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists. But more importantly, Sessions looked more comfortable and confident than he did the first two games.
Part of that confidence can be found in ball security since Sessions has only turned the ball over a total of four times in the first three games of the series. While his 42 percent shooting from the field could be better, Sessions is getting pretty good looks at the rim.
Sessions' signature runner in the lane is not falling with the same frequency as it did in the regular season, but his ability to penetrate the lane off his dribble is still creating chaos for the Nuggets' defense.
And while it may be hard to tell after Ty Lawson's 25-point performance against the Lakers in Game 3, Sessions' defense seems to have improved as well.
Sessions has begun to fight through pick-and-roll screens rather than following his earlier tendencies to go underneath them, and he's also learning to respect the quickness of opposing point guards instead of solely relying on his own superior quickness on the perimeter.
Bynum's size had a lot to do with limiting Lawson to seven points in Game 1, but Sessions deserves some credit for steering Lawson into the paint, and Bynum also.
Most people would agree that Sessions has been an obvious upgrade over former Lakers point guard Derek Fisher, but ultimately Sessions may be judged on a part of the game that Fisher mastered.
Fisher's defensive and playmaking flaws have been well documented, but so has his ability to hit big shots when it matters the most.
Sessions has yet to really face that type of pressure in a postseason situation but his steady performance near the end of Game 2, when the Nuggets were making a run, offers hope that Sessions could potentially rise to the occasion.
If the Lakers can advance past Denver, more challenges await Sessions in possible matchups with Oklahoma's Russell Westbrook, and maybe San Antonio's Tony Parker.
Sessions has performed admirably thus far in his first real playoff exposure, but he will have to raise his play another level or two if the Lakers make it past the first round.
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