Jake's Take: The Curious Case of Ramon Sessions
Jake LeRoy [@JakesTake34]
Bucks vs Cavaliers
|Bucks 110, Cavs 90
JAKE'S CLICK 'N ROLL:
First off, I should come clean about my appreciation for Ramon Sessions as a basketball player. I'm a huge Sessions apologist. He was my favorite player during his time in Milwaukee and I've always hoped he'd find his way on another team.
The fact that he hasn't been able to latch on to a permanent starting gig in his two years since leaving Milwaukee surprises me. That revelation came with the personal notion that timing and situation play an integral role in how a player develops. Present and future competition for playing time, offensive scheme and other factors largely decide what becomes of any player.
Its reasons like these that have prevented Sessions from becoming the player I think he could become. The 96 games Sessions played as a Buck was more than enough to sell me on this point. In his first 90 games in the NBA, he posted individual games of 44 points, 24 assists and a triple-double (16 points, 16 dimes, 10 assists). I don't know how often this has occurred, but I'd be willing to bet that less than five players in NBA history have accomplished this feat. Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson would be good starting off points, but the list of possible candidates dwindles quickly after that.
Sessions' breakout season was followed by a draft class that was heavy on point guards. The likes of Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn, Stephen Curry, Jrue Holliday and Brandon Jennings made it a near certainty the Bucks would draft their future point guard, and that made Sessions expendable.
Sessions saw the writing on the wall and moved even further north to the Twin Cities. As a T-Pup, Sessions was miscast as a point guard in the triangle offense, a scheme that emphasized exactly zero of his best qualities. Throw in the presence of Flynn and Rubio and it was clear Sessions would never make his mark in Minnesota.
So he was shipped to Cleveland, where he promptly took on the familiar role of Mo Williams' understudy. A series of injuries gave Sessions an opportunity to shine, and shine he did with averages of 20 points and nine assists in February. But then Williams was traded to the Clippers in exchange for Baron Davis. While Sessions has retained the starting role, it's only a matter of time before Davis complains his way into the starting five.
Don't get me wrong, Sessions has his faults. His 13 career three-pointers are as good an indication as any that he lacks a strong jumper. His defense is far from all-world. An argument could be made that he only succeeds on lower-tier teams, but I don't think it's necessarily a good one. It's not like he's playing only against lottery teams. His 44 point-effort came against a Pistons team still resembling the team that won the championship and the triple-double came against a Lakers team that would advance to the NBA Finals. Sessions also excels at running the pick-and-roll, rebounding for his position, drawing fouls and taking care of the ball.
So what happens next for Sessions? Does he continue to bounce around the league as a back-up or placeholder? Does he hold on to a starting spot for an entire season? Would these questions even need to be asked if he was a former top-10 draft pick that a team heavily invested in? How good can Sessions be? Nobody knows, and we may never know until Sessions finds himself a team that puts its full confidence in him.
- It sure didn't take long for the frontrunner for Worst Turnover of the Year to emerge. J.J. Hickson won the opening tip and Anthony Parker corralled the ball on the wing around the three-point line. Somehow, someway, it took Parker eight seconds to advance the ball to midcourt despite little to no on-the-ball pressure, resulting in a turnover less than 10 seconds into the game. The speed in which Parker moved the ball makes late-in-his-career Arvydas Sabonis look like Carl Lewis. Your Vydas, My Vydas, Arvydas.
- It took about six points and three rebounds to figure it out, but I'm fairly certain Cleveland's Samardo Samuels shares at least one strain of DNA with Michael Redd and Shelden Williams. I would say there's a bit more Redd than Williams, but it's a pretty good mix.
- It's amazing how effective an outlet pass can be when properly executed. On consecutive possessions in the second quarter, Andrew Bogut rebounded the ball and quickly made outlet passes to Earl Boykins that covered at least half of the court. The first resulted in a dunk from CDR and the second was an uncontested layup for Boykins. Granted, the Cavaliers were engaging in some of the worst transition defense the world has ever seen, but still, it was good fast breaking.
- I'm a big fan of most everything Squad 6 does, but I have to take issue with its recent treatment of the shot clock countdown. Its success early in the season was remarkable, bordering on perfect. But they've gotten a little flippant with their timing lately. You have to give NBA players some credit, even those wearing a Cleveland uniform. You can't start the countdown with 18 seconds on the clock. You're better than that Squad 6. Players can tell the difference between six seconds passing and 20 seconds passing. Start the five-second countdown with eight seconds left on the shot clock, not 18.
- I don't know if this is the first time he's worn them, or if I inexplicably never noticed, but I'm loving the grey version of Brandon Jennings' signature shoe. I'm a sucker for pretty much any all-grey shoe, though. I'm currently wearing a pair of all-grey Nike Shox that I've had for almost four years and will likely never throw away. Of course the dream shoe of myself and about 900,000 other males is the all-grey Jordan XI. I both smile and weep when gazing upon these wonders of man-made craftsmanship.
- Milwaukee's point guard triumvirate of Jennings, Boykins and Keyon Dooling are making their Cleveland counterparts, including Sessions, look more than a little silly. Jennings, Boykins and Dooling scored 36 points on 16-of-18 shooting through two-and-a-half quarters. Jennings and Boykins have done most of the damage with Jennings scoring 14 points on 6-of-7 and Boykins hitting all eight of his shots en route to 18 first-half points.
Closing It Out
Games like tonight's have been so few and far between this season that when they do happen, it takes on a whole new meaning. Blowout home wins were a regular occurrence at the BC last year, but I had almost forgotten what they felt like that. Tonight's big win over Cleveland was a total blast from the recent past. This is the best kind of d