After four games of observing the newly acquired point guard, we have a gauge of what Ramon Sessions can do for the Los Angeles Lakers, and what we can expect from him going forward.
We can expect a quick guard who can create shots for himself, but can also drive into the lane and break down defenses en route to setting up his teammates. He showed flashes of this at the beginning of the fourth quarter during Tuesday night’s game, where he appeared to take over, and played even better on Wednesday night in Dallas.
He exhibited his abilities to shoot, attack the basket and finish, and penetrate opposing defenses in order to make plays for others, all in bunches. The Lakers will need him to continue to be aggressive and expand the points in which he picks his spots, so to speak. With increased playing time and an increased understanding of the offense and defensive philosophies, Sessions should be able to do just that.
One main factor for him will be his performance in crunch time situations, however. With Derek Fisher gone and Steve Blake seemingly more comfortable in a distributor’s role, Sessions will have to look to be aggressive and willing to make plays down the stretch of ballgames. What the Lakers lost in Fisher was a player who relished opportunities in which defenses would attempt to shut down Kobe, and loved rising to the occasion and making the big play.
Although Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are threats in close games, the Lakers still need a player with multiple skills besides Bryant to step up at times; one who can handle the ball and make decisions independent of Kobe. Only time will tell if Sessions can fill that role, but it will be a great asset if he can.
Overall, the Sessions’ pickup has great potential and appears to be an excellent addition. Perhaps it is better that the Lakers picked up a solid point guard instead of an elite one at the expense of Pau Gasol. In the current scenario, Kobe still has two highly skilled big men to throw the ball to, but also has another play-maker to play alongside of.
Although Sessions is a capable guard, he is not a guard who needs to dominate the ball to be effective. This allows Kobe to still orchestrate the offense the way he sees fit, but also allows him to play off of another offensive minded guard. The two will first have to develop a chemistry and understanding of each other, however.
So far, Sessions has only played off the bench, and is likely to continue this for a while or possibly for the rest of the season. However, he has shown that he can lead the bench and has a natural chemistry with Matt Barnes, who seems to love the up-tempo style of play that Sessions brings to the team.
Additionally, Sessions is capable of running the offense when Kobe is on the bench, and should add more pick-and-roll play overall as well. Again, no matter if he starts the game or comes off the bench, if he can prove to be a viable option down the stretch, the Lakers will have truly added a new dimension to their team.
As devastating as it has been for many fans (including this author) to see Derek Fisher go, the Lakers appear to have made a solid move in the correct direction by acquiring Ramon Sessions to replace him. He may not ever replace the leadership qualities and memories that Fisher brought to the Lakers, but if he can have a similar mentality when it comes to winning, Ramon Sessions will do just fine in Los Angeles.