Every night, someone, somewhere, is watching the NBA for the first time. Young or old. South American or Asian. Short or tall. Future pro basketball player or former accountant. Someone, somewhere.
Ramon Sessions plays like he knows someone is watching basketball for the first time.
And he plays like that every night.
So let’s please take a moment and talk about the Bucks – who certainly lead the NBA in Bucks and probably lead the NBA in ex-Bucks.
The 27 year-old guard came back last week to where he started playing pro hoops. Milwaukee. Though this story is not quite that simple. The Bucks made Sessions a second round draft pick, a late second round draft pick, in 2007. As a rookie, he became the first player to be assigned to the NBDL that season. He gave the Tulsa 66ers everything.
By the end of his rookie year, he broke a franchise record, and not a Tulsa 66ers franchise record (yes: probably one of those also).
The first three paragraphs here are from a story that I wrote about Sessions five years ago. Once upon a time, Sessions was my first real basketball interview. He still is. The story got lost somewhere on the internet, but he’s back now.
If Ramon Sessions was your favorite player on the 2008-09 Bucks, then we have a minimum of one thing in common.— Alex Boeder (@alexboeder) November 24, 2013
While I am we are on the Sessions Nostalgia kick, here are a few of his finest moments in a Bucks jersey.
He broke the franchise record with 24 assists in an absurd 151-135 loss to the Bulls as a rookie. It was mid-April, and it was his 16th game in the NBA (and sixth start). He also scored 20 points in that game. Sessions dished out 13+ assists in each of his final four games of his rookie season.
Then there was the night he scored 44 points on a January night in his second season. This was not an ordinary 44 either, if there is an ordinary 44. He hit 13-18 from the field and 18-21 from the line and added 12 assists.
These are crazy stats and I still don’t know how they happened but I am pleased that they did.
On mobile: view image
Sessions can play a bit of point guard and shooting guard.
Larry Drew elaborated before his first game back with the team.
“I think he’s capable. He’s done that his whole career. He’s played point, he’s played off the ball. Very similar to Brandon. With Brandon, Nate, and Ramon, I think you can use any combination.”
Sessions played more time at the one (59%) than two (41%) this season in Charlotte, but he played significant time at both guard positions. He has played off the ball more this season more than ever before. That might continue in Milwaukee.
Notably, he fared clearly better both offensively and defensively at shooting guard in Charlotte, based on PER, according to 82games.com. With the Bobcats this season he posted a net -1.8 PER at point guard and +7.0 PER at shooting guard. He teamed frequently off the ball in the backcourt with Kemba Walker. Walker and new teammate Brandon Knight have posted obscenely similar stats this season.
[On mobile: view image]
So, how else is 2013 Ramon different than 2009 Ramon?
In 96 games with the Bucks, he made nine three-pointers. He hardly ever even attempted shots from beyond the arc. A couple years later in 2011-12, in a season split between Cleveland and Los Angeles, he made 43-97 (.443) on threes. But this season and last season he has struggled from outside. There is no absolute conclusion, but in conclusion: He will try his hand from outside from time to time now, but it still is not his game.
First in Line
Missing from that shot chart is probably the most alluring and efficient part of Sessions.
Sessions gets to the basket, and he gets to the free throw line. He makes 5.1 free throws per 36 minutes, which rates as easily the best on the team. The Bucks rank 27th in the league in free throw attempts, and 26th in free throws made, so this helps.
Ramon on LeBron
[On mobile: watch video]
Almost everyone, almost everywhere, might like to watch this.