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NBA Trades: 'Shocked' Kobe Bryant Won't Regress Without Derek Fisher on Floor

Scott Semmler@@ScottSemmler22Analyst IIMarch 17, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 16:  Ramon Sessions #7 and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers consult on the court in the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on March 16, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 97-92.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant was surprised to see Derek Fisher traded to the Houston Rockets on the final day before the NBA trade deadline, but he will be a much happy camper when his team starts winning meaningful games down the stretch toward the playoffs.

Bryant, who has played a total of 13 seasons with Fisher, said he was "shocked" by the trade.

"I think I was shocked just like everybody else...We've always been close and we'll continue to be close," Bryant told ESPN 710 Radio.

The trade of Fisher made room for the Lakers to acquire point guard Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he had averaged 10 points and five assists this season.

But Bryant's shocked attitude will not last long. He knows, and the NBA knows, that the Lakers are a better team without Fisher at point guard. Sessions brings solid ball-handling and good offensive awareness to L.A. He also is a terrific facilitator, one that can set up Bryant for good looks throughout the floor.

That is why Bryant will be happy to see Sessions passing to him and getting open looks. Sessions has the ability to make Bryant look really good and he knows that, especially after scoring 28 points in Sessions' first game. From the LA Times:

"It makes my job a lot easier," said Bryant, who posted 28 points on nine-of-20 shooting, including five of eight from three-point range. "I get a lot of easier opportunities. I sit on the perimeter. I got a lot of spot-up shots tonight both from his break-down penetration and from teams collapsing on Andrew [Bynum]."

Fisher was just that veteran the team wanted to keep around for all the great things he has done for the franchise. He could not facilitate the ball and he was not reliable enough for the team to win with Fisher at point. Towards the end, Bryant was forced to penetrate the ball and create for himself. Β 

Now, Sessions will be able to do that.

Sessions is everything Fisher used to be, without the career-making shots in the playoffs.

The 25-year-old is also having a career year from three-point range, something the Lakers could rely upon in the playoffs to complement the games of Bryant, Bynum and Gasol. Sessions is shooting nearly 42 percent from beyond the arc this season.

I don't blame Bryant for being unhappy or "shocked" that a long-time friend of his was traded before one of the biggest stretches of the season. But the productivity the Lakers got in return is going to prepare this team for a run in the NBA playoffs.

With Fisher, L.A. was no contender in the West, but with Sessions, the Lakers now have a facilitator that can help the team challenge the top seeds.

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