L.A. Lakers: Is Kirk Hinrich an Upgrade over Ramon Sessions?

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L.A. Lakers: Is Kirk Hinrich an Upgrade over Ramon Sessions?
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According to Dave McMenamin at ESPN.com the Los Angeles Lakers reached out to point guard Ramon Sessions shortly after the free agency signing period opened this morning. But the Lakers also took steps to insure themselves if Sessions decides to walk.

The Lakers also inquired about the possibility of signing Chauncey Billups, Atlanta Hawks point guard Kirk Hinrich and Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson.

Hinrich would probably be the least expensive player of the trio mentioned, and he might be the most valuable to the Lakers considering his outside shooting touch is something the Lakers could desperately use.

The prospects of landing Hinrich are intriguing for another reason as well, since there is a strong chance that he wouldn't be coming to Los Angeles alone if the Lakers are really interested.

The Atlanta Hawks have made it known that they would love to trade disgruntled forward Josh Smith to the Lakers for Pau Gasol, and it might be possible for the Lakers to snag Hinrich as well.

Sessions at 26 is younger than Hinrich and quicker, but is Hinrich actually an upgrade over Sessions in every other category?

Hinrich is certainly a better perimeter shooter than Sessions, and while he lacks Sessions' foot speed Hinrich is still a great player in the open court, and he can get to the rim off the dribble.

However, the areas where Hinrich really out-shine Sessions are on the defensive end and decision-making.

Sessions has the potential to be an above-average defender, but so far his talent has yet to catch up with his game, and he proved it in the 2012 NBA Playoffs.

Sessions was consistently beaten off the dribble by Ty Lawson in the Lakers first round win over Denver, and Russell Westbrook gave Sessions an old-fashioned beat-down in the Lakers second round loss to Oklahoma City.

I'm not saying that Hinrich would have done much better, but he would not have been caught out of position as much as Sessions was, and at least Hinrich has some concept of what pick-and-roll defense is.

There will still be some people who are scared away by the fact that Hinrich is five years older than Sessions, but this should only be a concern if the Lakers feel like Sessions has a shot to be their point guard of the future.

And was there anything that Sessions showed last season that proves he deserves that designation?

The Lakers should be focused on surrounding Kobe Bryant with the best roster possible as the franchise tries to maximize Bryant's final seasons as an elite player. I'm not sure if Hinrich fits that description, but I'm not sure that Sessions does either.

If Sessions does decide to take his potential elsewhere the Lakers could do a lot worse than pursuing Hinrich, and there may be an added bonus for their efforts in the form of Josh Smith as well.

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