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What Cavs fans can expect from Ramon Sessions

The recently acquired Cavaliers’ guard Ramon Sessions was drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2007 draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.  He played two years there, the first backing up Mo Williams and subsequently becoming bff’s with him, and the second in a breakout campaign where he averaged 12.5 points, 5.7 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game during the 08-09 season.  From there he signed with Minnesota, and his numbers fell off some playing behind Jonny Flynn last season (8.2 / 3.1 / 2.6 in 79 games). 

What does any of that mean for Cavs fans though?  Or more specifically, what can Cavaliers fans expect from Ramon Sessions both next year and the years to come?  I wasn’t sure, so I sent a couple emails out asking those questions.  

I checked in our friend College Wolf from the T-Wolves Blog, as well as Frank from the Milwaukee Bucks Blog Brew Hoop.  Their thoughts on Sessions from following him over the last three seasons are are below. 

First from CW, on Sessions’ season last year with the T-Wolves.

College Wolf from the T-Wolves Blog:

“Ramon Sessions’ career has been interesting.  He certainly has the talent and ability, but hasn’t really been given the chance to take over a PG role full-time in either Milwaukee or Minnesota.  He had been playing very well for the Bucks (which partly convinced KAHN to sign him), although the Bucks choose to let him go rather than match the relatively paltry salary of $4 million per year offered by the Wolves.  A Jennings-Sessions combo would have been nice though, I think.

He is a good floor leader, nice passer, solid at getting to the rim, and a serviceable defender.  Unfortunately, he can’t shoot from 3-point range if his life depended on it.  He’s so bad (and he knows it), that he simply doesn’t even attempt 3′s.  Which if you think about it, probably means he’s pretty smart for not jacking up terrible shots.  And for the record, he’s only made 10 out of 56 career threes (17.9%!) in 4,354 minutes played.  Egads.

The downside to this is that his defender can sag off him, close off driving lanes, and clog up the lane/help with other defenders.  So although I like Sessions and liked the signing, he really wasn’t a very good fit in the TWolves hybrid Uptempo-Fail Triangle offense.  Because even in a sucktastic hybrid Triangle offense, you still need your PG to be able to shoot the ball, even moreso when he’s left open.  And really, this problem falls on Kahn.  I get that he signed him because he was a cheap asset that (presumably at the time), could have been flipped for something better later down the road, but he didn’t fit on our team, and he eventually moved him for nothing other than a salary dump to help cancel out yet another bad signing (Ryan “Cement Hands” Hollins.)

With all that said, he actually still managed to play decently well for the TWolves last year.  At least, he passed the eye test.  I’m not even going to pretend to go spouting off synergy sports numbers or other such blah blah blah; because who cares when the team won 15 games and has 80% new players the next off-season. His stats weren’t great, but he never played enough minutes, nor was he consistently given a chance to succeed.  And Flynn certainly was NOT head and shoulders above him, regardless of what sexy stats show.  Sessions just never got enough of a chance.  That’s the bottom line to this story.

And let’s not even talk about the players he was mostly stuck playing alongside.  Guys like Sasha Pavlobrick, Ryan Hollins, Wayne Ellington, Damien Wilkins, etc.  How is he going to put up any stats playing the majority of his minutes with the likes of that?!?

As a Wolves fan that watches 90%+ of our games, I honestly and truly believe Ramon Sessions is a better player than any statistic from last season will negatively point out.

I think he will fit in nicely with Cleveland.  It’s still not the ideal role for him, as I presume Mo Williams will get the lion’s share of minutes at PG.  However, Sessions can play off the ball at SG as well.  His stats last year playing SG were no worse than PG, and in some cases he played better at SG.  So maybe he and Mo Will can mesh on the court and work out nicely together.  If you give Sessions a consistent 25-30 minutes per game on your squad, I think it will turn out to be a big ‘plus’ trade for the Cavs.  I mean, at least in comparison to what you gave up (basically nothing, although I loved Delonte’s game 2 years ago.)”

Then from Frank who had a close eye on Sessions during both his rookie season, and that ’08-09 campaign.

Frank from Brew Hoop:

“I definitely think it’s a nice move given the Cavs now need guys who can make things happen with the ball in their hands. I’m not sure exactly what went wrong for him in Minnesota, though from what I saw it didn’t look like Rambis’ triangle was ever the kind of system that would take advantage of his all slashing/no shooting style. In contrast to someone like Mo Williams, he doesn’t have the perimeter game to be effective off the ball, though he actually did reasonably well when he played shooting guard in Michael Redd’s absence early in the 08/09 season.

Brew Hoop

Unlike last year in Minnesota, he showed with the Bucks that he can be a very productive player when given sufficient freedom. While he never looks particularly explosive, Sessions’ long strides and sneaky athleticism (he dunks more than you’d expect) helped him overcome his lack of outside shooting touch in his first two seasons. He has nice size for the 1 and knows how to use his size around the hoop, and with the Bucks he was also developing a nice one-handed push shot/floater that he would use in the lane when he couldn’t cleanly beat his man. He had a knack for drawing fouls and knew his limitations as a shooter, but all told he hasn’t been a very efficient scorer in the NBA. 

But even if he does have the ability to score in bunches, don’t mistake him for an undersized SG. Ramon’s court vision and passing really do make him a natural PG, and that’s why the ball needs to be in his hands. All that slashing allows him to draw defenders and create easy shots for teammates, and with the Bucks he showed he could make both the easy and tough passes. P&R situations were probably where he was at his best, as it gave him the option of driving against slower defenders or dishing off to open teammates.

It was more of a mixed bag on defense. He was extremely active on that end when he first burst on the scene as a rookie, but as he started logging more minutes his energy on that end began to lag a bit. He’s not exceptionally quick laterally but his size is an asset and he was a very good rebounder for a PG with the Bucks. From an upside perspective, I think Andre Miller is the most common comparison people make, but Rod Strickland is the guy I always found myself going back to when I would watch Sessions play. 

In any case, he could be a terrific “buy low” pickup provided he gets minutes and is encouraged to create offense. Mo Williams was like his big brother when he was a rookie with the Bucks–if I recall correctly, Sessions also lived in Mo’s condo after he was traded–so that should ease the transition somewhat.”  

Follow College Wolf on Twitter @CollegeWolf, and Follow Frank from Brew Hoop on Twitter @brewhoopThanks for checking in fellas.

 

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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