Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Time for a Re-Session

In the very first piece I posted on this site I questioned whether or not Ramon Sessions was capable of being a great (or good) NBA point guard. Earlier in the season he was prone to bizarre turnovers having to do with a seemingly undeveloped ability to dribble the ball. Dribbling is probably the most basic part of a point guard’s job and something that he has surely been doing since he began playing basketball. I wasn’t sure earlier this year if this was a correctable problem, but fortunately as the season has gone on, I haven’t seen these silly turnovers nearly as much from Sessions…and now I’m afraid I won’t see him at all next year.

What I have seen from Sessions lately is a terrific all around game, game after game. Not only is he looking like a very good NBA point guard, but he’s looking like the point guard of the future for the Milwaukee Bucks, permitting they can afford to keep him around. Look at the numbers Sessions has put up since Michael Redd’s injury.

Minutes Points Assists Free Throws
38.7 21.6 6.1 7.9-9.3

Those aren’t bad. In fact, Devin Harris, an all-star, is averaging eerily similar numbers on the year. Harris is being seen as a franchise cornerstone for years to come in New Jersey. Harris is one of two players I thought of when trying to find a comparison for Sessions. The other is Tony Parker. I realize that Sessions lacks the quickness of Harris or Parker, or Harris’ springs, but like them he is not an accomplished jump shooter. I’ll also point out that Sessions athleticism is much better than given credit for. It’s not like this guy is being out run by Shaq and out jumped by Yao Ming. He can hold his own. But I digress. Here are the second season numbers PER numbers for the three as brought to you by John Hollinger of Sessions obviously hasn’t finished his second season yet, but if anything his numbers will likely be going up.

SEASON FG% FT% P/40 R/40 A/40 TS% Ast TO Usg Reb PER
2005-06 .469 .716 17.4 3.9 5.6 54.4 23.0 10.9 21.1 5.9 17.51

SEASON FG% FT% P/40 R/40 A/40 TS% Ast TO Usg Reb PER
2002-03 .464 .755 18.3 3.1 6.2 54.2 24.0 11.0 22.1 4.5 17.17

SEASON FG% FT% P/40 R/40 A/40 TS% Ast TO Usg Reb PER
2008-09 .451 .806 18.4 4.6 7.2 54.0 26.6 10.2 22.2 6.9 17.80

One thing that stands out to me is how good of a free throw shooter Sessions is for a second year guy. A lot of players take three or four years before they find the right groove at the NBA stripe, he’s been able to do it right away. Aside from that his numbers stack up very well with both these guys. Parker is a multiple all-star guy and Harris looks as though he will have multiple by this time next year. Parker had the luxury of playing pretty big minutes almost immediately whereas Harris (Jason Terry) and Sessions (Luke Ridnour) had to sit behind guys who weren’t very good point guards (Terry is a very productive fill it up scorer off the bench).

The one thing Sessions does not have in common with these two could be listed in a different, but very important, category: wins. Both Parker and Harris played on better teams, but were critical to the success of those teams. Parker would go on to win a Finals MVP and Harris probably should have if the Mavericks would not have been screwed in the Dwyane Wade series. It stands to reason that if Sessions is “let loose” wins will follow for the Bucks.

I guess that's my whole point. Sessions is probably the most important player on the Bucks and the one most likely to sustain any importance league wide. Since taking the reigns at point guard Sessions has guided the team to two games over 120 points and a 1-1 record against two very good teams. He may not have a great outside shot or blinding speed, but Sessions is a very very good basketball player at the most important position in the NBA. Point guards have more to do with wins and losses than anyone else on a basketball court (unless Kobe and Lebron are on the court, but they really become point guards whenever they want anyway). I realize the cap situation will be tight for Milwaukee this off-season but it seems clear that the Bucks must do whatever they can to keep Sessions.

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