The Los Angles Lakers traded a first round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ramon Sessions at the trade deadline in order to improve their play at the point guard position. By improving that position, the Lakers essentially wanted somebody who could come in and do better than Steve Blake. There’s no denying that even at his worst, Ramon Sessions is still an upgrade over the thirty-seven year old Derek Fisher, who was cut by the Lakers in anticipation of the Sessions move. But Ramon needs to do more than just be better than Fish against OKC, and he isn’t.
As the Thunder surged last night in Game Two, coming back from down seven points the final two minutes, Ramon Sessions was on the sidelines. He had previously played 24 minutes on Wednesday, finishing with 2 points on 1 of 3 shooting, with 4 rebounds, 0 assists, and 1 turnover. In Game One against OKC, Sessions was 1 for 7 in 26 minutes for 2 points, along with 0 rebounds, 3 assist, and 1 turnover. A far cry to be sure from the 12.4 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game in 29 minutes of work per night he had averaged during the 13 games he played for Cleveland in the month of February. Over his last five playoff games, dating back to the Denver series, Sessions is averaging 6 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists in 27 minutes per night as the Lakers point guard.
If the Lakers are going to respond in game three when the series returns to LA, Sessions will need to return himself to the player his new team thought they traded for. Two points a night against OKC isn’t what they thought they were getting. Steve Blake finished Tuesday’s game in relief of Ramon yesterday, and missed a critical three that would’ve put the Lakers up one point late. Blake probably shouldn’t have taken that shot, because Metta probably should’ve forced it into Kobe even though Bryant dove away from World Peace’s sidelines while being triple teamed, but Blake was kind of wide open. He’s also kind of playing as bad a Sessions is too, scoring only a total of 5 points in those two games against OKC in 46 minutes on 1 of 6 shooting, and therein lies the problem.
Maybe Derek Fisher is laughing at all this just down the hall from the Lakers locker room while proudly rocking his new OKC number 37 jersey. Maybe he thinks he would’ve done better than the 9 points Blake and Sessions have combined to score in two games. He’d probably be right to think that he couldn’t do worse, but there’s still two more games left to play at least before this thing’s dunzo. Whether Fisher could’ve done better or not for the Lakers we’ll never know, but we will find out soon if Sessions can step up. If he can string a few games together resembling the way he opened the Nuggets series, maybe it’ll be enough to help Kobe get his squad back on track. Or maybe the Lakers will still get swept anyways, and feel like they shouldn’t have traded a first round draft pick to Cleveland back when they did.