Ramon Sessions vs. Deron Williams: Do L.A. Lakers Need a Good or Great PG?
The Thunder's resounding victory illustrated in living color the true depths of the Lakers' dysfunction, and while most fans subconsciously knew various issues existed, they hid the truth behind a resurgent Kobe Bryant and the emergence of Andrew Bynum.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook ripped away that facade and legions of purple and gold followers are left to sift through a mess that begins at the very top of the franchise and permeates down through the team's roster.
We all knew that team president Jim Buss had no clue about running the franchise he inherited from his father, but we reluctantly gave our approval as a vote of solidarity.
When Buss decided to hire Mike Brown over fan favorite Brian Shaw, we still embraced him, even though we were all witnesses to Brown's clueless tenure in Cleveland.
We can be forgiven for celebrating Bynum's return to health and the interior dominance that his potential has always suggested. But we should be punished for ignoring the effect Bynum's rise had on Pau Gasol's demise, not to mention Brown's inability to utilize him.
Even Bryant is not above reproach because he played exactly like we knew he would in Game 5 against the Thunder, but it was still to the detriment of his teammates.
Bryant scored 42 points and shot better than 50 percent in the Lakers' close-out game, but his zero assists total suggests it would be an understatement to say Bryant was in a less than giving mood.
Maybe Bryant had finally lost faith in Gasol or Bynum, or maybe it was just Bryant's competitive nature surfacing like a survival mechanism.
We may never know why Bryant reverted to his Wild West gunslinger days of old, but we do know his reserve unit didn't back him up. The Lakers' bench was one of the league's worst during the 2011-12 regular season and in the playoffs they proved it.
The Lakers' reserves scored a combined five points in their Game 5 loss to Oklahoma City, and it's hard to find a player that is really worth keeping beyond energetic forward Jordan Hill.
Any of the above mentioned situations are egregious enough and I have yet to discuss Ramon Sessions and the state of the Lakers' point guard position.
My harshest criticism of the Lakers has been reserved for Sessions and it pains me, because like so many of the Lakers' faithful, I had high hopes for the lead guard, even though I knew most of his career has been spent as a backup.
I too, got caught up by the illusion of Sessions' seemingly seamless transition to the Lakers, but that sleight of hand was also exposed in the playoffs.
In my opinion, Sessions' greatest strengths are his quickness and athleticism, and his biggest flaw is he has absolutely no idea how to use them.
Sessions is at his best in the open floor, but his speed doesn't fit the Lakers' style of play and he is horrible in half-court sets.
During the final weeks of the regular season, Sessions led us to believe that he was a playmaking type of point guard, but how many people feel that way after his first playoff experience?
Sessions only had three more assists than Bryant in Game 5 at the Thunder, and he only averaged 3.6 assists per game in the postseason, compared to 22 turnovers in 12 total games.
9.7 points, three rebounds and 37 percent shooting are not the type of numbers that would predicate a finals run, and does Sessions even understand the concept of man-to-man defense?
I hate to pile on Sessions, but did anyone else get the impression that Westbrook could score whenever he wanted when defended by Mr. Matador?
There is a chance that Sessions' game can grow into his potential, but I'm not sure if that theory fits the reality of Kobe's diminishing title window.
I have heard every rumor concerning Williams coming to Los Angeles and every single one can be summed up by asking if Williams really wants to play there.
The Lakers would likely be forced to break up their interior duo of Bynum and Gasol, but after watching this year's playoffs, is that really a scary thought?
I'm tired of living under the false perception that the strength of the Lakers team is found in the paint, and I'm ready to experience how the Lakers would look with a great point guard.
Lakers fans almost got the chance when the team traded for arena-mate Chris Paul, but the evil David Stern nixed a dream pairing of the league's best players at their respective positions in the backcourt.
Paul is a dream deferred, but would Lakers fans be willing to break up the tandem of Gasol and Bynum to acquire Williams?
Williams is bigger than Sessions, maybe more athletic and is comfortable playing and creating in transition, or a half-court set.
After watching the uninspired play of Gasol and Bynum this postseason, I would part with either player if the net return is Williams.
It's time to admit that the Sessions experiment has failed, and maybe the Lakers should re-explore addressing the need that would really return them to title contention.
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