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The Perplexing Case of Ramon Sessions


Ramon Sessions is difficult to figure out.

Basketball addicts have talked about for years about how good he is, and lamented his misfortune of always finding a way to be somebody's backup in a less than perfect fit. Everywhere Sessions has gone, the dialogue is the same. This is going to be the city where he blows up, proving things are going to be different than before. Sessions' hype was never higher when he landed in LA last winter evoking Laker fan celebration as if the second-coming of Magic Johnson had just arrived.

Then in this spring's playoffs, Sessions shot just 37.7% from the floor and 16.6% from 3 through 12 games in which he averaged nearly 32 minutes per game. Was Sessions at fault for LA's early exit? No, but coincidentally or not, team after team passed on Sessions, who became an unrestricted free agent after he declined his player option with LA, until he signed his new deal with the Charlotte Bobcats. This means that Sessions, a supposedly underrated and good player, would be playing for his fifth team in six seasons after being traded twice, and being a free agent twice in that same period.

Yes, good players get traded; even great ones. You don't need to remind me that Wilt, Kareem, Dwight and Shaq have all been traded, multiple times in some cases. But don't pretend that Sessions is even in the same hemisphere as those players.

I do believe Sessions is a good player, but it's puzzling that he moves around so much and has seldom started for each team. I mean, he won't even be starting for the Bobcats who (rightfully so) will be starting Kemba Walker. In Milwaukee he was stuck behind Luke Ridnour and then they drafted Brandon Jennings instead of re-signing him. In Minnesota he was stuck behind Jonny Flynn and enveloped in Kurt Rambis' pseudo-Triangle of Doom, which was an awful fit for Sessions' game. Even in Cleveland he managed just 38 starts in 81 games as he watched an Anthony Parker-Mo Williams backcourt in '11 before Kyrie Irving came last season.

Is the name "Ramon Sessions" Latin for "bad luck"; "poor timing"; or what? I mean, he played arguably the best ball of his career as a starter for the Lakers in the regular season, and yet no one wanted to invest in him as a starter in the offseason. Was the regular season sample size too small and too good to be true, or was his playoff sample too damning despite its size? I really don't know, that's why I'm writing this.

Don't say he's a starter because apparently the NBA disagrees: he's only started roughly 1/3rd of his career games (108/323). It's fair to wonder if at the age of 26, 5 years of NBA play, and 3 years of college prior, that maybe Sessions is as good as he'll ever be, right? Heck, that's not even a bad thing to say since he's still a nice player. The way his career has played out actually seems like a best case scenario for a 2nd round pick out of a small school, and no matter how much we may wish for more, this may be all that he's meant to be.

Maybe NBA teams don't know what to make of Sessions themselves? After all, his 39.8% shooting before being traded to LA season was average at best, but then shot 47% in LA. On top of that, his defense leaves much be to desired, yet he has a 16.7 career PER, if you believe in that sort of thing.

Is it a bad fit? If so, how does Ramon keep ending up in these situations over and over again? You'd think his agent would be able to guide him, as well as Ramon understanding who plays for who and if the team's system complements his skill set. It's not as if he's been chasing money either; these next two years will mark the first seasons he's made $5 million in his six year career.

Still, we hear the same things about Sessions and see the same things continue happening to him again and again. Sessions may be an average player, but there are worse players with jobs, and his career numbers as a starter are better than his numbers off of the bench.

Maybe Ramon Sessions has been underrated for so long that he became overrated. Maybe our persistent belief that Sessions is going to one day establish himself as a upper level point guard stems from the fact that players don't get much more likeable or easier to root for than him.

Sure, it's entirely possible that Sessions winds up supplanting Kemba Walker as the Bobcats' starter and after years of holding our collective breaths we will finally be able to exhale, but history says otherwise. At the worst, Charlotte has a very capable backup and an even greater human being in the locker room. Hey, there's something that isn't hard to figure out about Ramon Sessions!