Ramon Sessions better option for Lakers than Gilbert Arenas
The Lakers' backcourt remains so depleted that Coach Mike Brown has rotated two second-round picks in the team's backup slot.
It remains unclear whether they'll solve those issues by acquiring Deron Williams. Or they'll just rely on reserve Steve Blake continuing his improved play when he returns from a rib injury and hope Derek Fisher's experience and leadership will be good enough. That's why it's encouraging for Laker fans to hear that the team's front office has considered various ways to enhance the team's backcourt beyond pursuing Williams. But of the two latest possibilities, only one of those choices would actually help the Lakers.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Lakers view Cleveland guard Ramon Sessions as someone who can help. Yet multiple reports, including from The Times' Mike Bresnahan, indicate that the Lakers are also mulling over signing Gilbert Arenas. It's a good thing some within the organization remain wary of Arenas' signing for two reasons. It's unclear whether Arenas can ever restore his All-Star numbers in any capacity. Sessions, meanwhile, has all the skills needed to help the Lakers' backcourt.
Sessions may have struggled this season, playing limited minutes and averaging 9.1 points and shooting 34%. But he's playing behind rookie prospect Kyrie Irving, and the Lakers don't really need their point guard to dominate in the scoring column. Leave that to Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The Lakers instead need a point guard who's quick, can organize the offense, ensure balanced spacing and throw quality entry passes.
Sessions fits all of those needs. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Sessions has handled 43.5% of his possessions on pick-and-roll sets. Having such a skill set would free up Bryant from handling the ball, which relieves both his energy output and the pain in the torn ligament in his right wrist. Sessions' assist-to-turnover ratio at 2:1. That would reduce the Lakers tendency toward a stagnant offense. Sessions also hardly cares about scoring. Not only will that require less of an adjustment for his teammates to make, it will also ensure a quick acclimation period.
Signing Arenas would be a different story.
He may be eager to fall in line since no team has picked him up. The Lakers could sign the free agent at the veterans' minimum. But there's a reason Arenas hasn't attracted much interest, and it has nothing to do with his suspension for most of the 2009-10 season for his involvement with Javaris Crittenton in having handguns present during a locker-room dispute.
Thanks to multiple knee surgeries on top of the suspension, Arenas has managed to appear in just 117 of a possible 328 regular-season games since signing his monster contract. After the Magic traded for him 24 games into last season, Arenas averaged only eight points on 34.4% shooting the rest of the way, a steep drop from his career averages of 21.2 points per game on 42.1% shooting. His inconsistency and need to become a high-volume shooter would only make the Lakers' unsettled roster more unstable.
The Lakers need to address their backcourt problems sooner rather than later. But they will only solve that issue if they choose the right candidate.
— Mark Medina
Email the Lakers blog at [email protected]
Photo: Lakers rookie point guard Darius Morris drives against Cavaliers point guard Ramon Sessions during their game Friday night at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / Jan. 13, 2012