The Los Angeles Lakers pulled the trigger at the trade deadline. Although the team did not acquire a premier player, point guard Ramon Sessions holds the talent to potentially become just that.
At 6 feet 3 inches tall, this South Carolina native is just 25 years old. The Milwaukee Bucks drafted Sessions as the 56th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft out of Nevada, where he averaged 12.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and nearly one steal per game.
In the first four games under a purple and gold uniform, Sessions collected averages of 12 points, 6 assists and 3.3 rebounds a game. He shot 57 percent from the field, including a solid 43 percent behind the arc. Get this though – those numbers came as Sessions entered games directly from the bench.
And the Lakers are a team with three prolific scorers in future Hall of Fame shooting guard Kobe Bryant, All-Star center Andrew Bynum and former power forward All-Star Pau Gasol. So, Sessions’s production has been noted as a spark.
But how will he flourish now that head coach Mike Brown has added him to the starting line-up? Perhaps the answer could very well be within his confidence, as he gets more comfortable while playing more minutes. Sessions’s first start came against the Portland Blazers on March 23 (he scored 20 points and dished 11 dimes).
“I’m going to start Sessions tonight,” Brown told reporters after L.A.’s shoot around Friday hours before game time. “The biggest thing is, there’s a comfort level there with all of us and Sessions. If you talk to him, he’ll tell you at the end of the Dallas game [on March 21] when he was on the floor, there was a comfort level that he had out there running the offense.”
Sessions acknowledges the trust Brown has in him.
“He’s been big for me,” he told the media. “Him being the head coach, and him just giving me the green light to play my game, to believe in me. ... This is a team that’s won many championships and to bring me along four to five days in and give me the green light to play my game is big.”
Los Angeles had been in desperate need of a young point guard, which is where Sessions came in at the trade deadline. In exchange for him and forward Christian Eyenga, the Lakers sent Jason Kapono, Luke Walton and their 2012 first-round pick to Cleveland.
However, since veteran team captain Derek Fisher still remained on the squad, general manager Mitch Kupchak dealt him and the first-round pick acquired from Dallas in the Lamar Odom trade to Houston for center Jordan Hill.
Essentially, it is a luxury tax relief for L.A., while also insuring a clear path for Sessions to succeed.
“I need him to trust his instincts first and know the sets second, because I think he can be that good. I want him to have the freedom to go play basketball, and then get a feel for what we’re trying to do after that,” Brown added.
Sessions’s immediate impact has been a result of his speed, decision-making and scoring. It will be intriguing to witness how the Lakers battle against championship contenders now that Sessions is on the team’s starting line-up.