On the Ramon Sessions Trade

July 27th, 2010 by John Krolik

Let’s get into it, Pro-and-Con style:

Pro: Ramon Sessions is the best pure point guard the Cavaliers have had since Andre Miller, and was a necessary acquisition for Byron Scott.

(I’m not being hyperbolic about Sessions with the above statement — I believe Sessions to be a better pure point than Jeff McInnis, Damon Jones, Eric Snow, Daniel Gibson, and Mo Williams. Not saying much, when you really think about it.)

The good news here is that Ramon Sessions can really play. He’s a true drive-and-kick guard who loves to get into the paint, and he’s as good as any guard this side of Kyle Lowry at drawing fouls. He was a highly coveted free agent guard last season, and the contract he ended up getting is pretty fair.

On paper, last year was a huge disappointment for Sessions, but his per-48 numbers were pretty good; 7.2 assists, 15.9% draw foul rate, and the best net +/- of any regular rotation player on the Timberwolves. If he can get back to his 07-08 form, when he averaged 11.3 assists per 40 minutes, that would be spectacular. But if Sessions gets enough minutes and room to stretch his wings, the 09-10 version of him will work just fine.

The Cavs desperately needed a playmaker to make this uptempo offense work, and now they have one. The Cavs have athletes on the wings, but it’s not about how fast the players move — it’s about how fast the ball moves. Sessions is also comfortable playing full-court basketball; 48% of his shot attempts came in the first 10 seconds of the clock last season. If the Cavs put Sessions, Mo Williams, Jamison, and two athletes out on the floor together, they’ll have some serious offensive firepower going. Eternal Sunshine of the Run-And-Gun Cavaliers is getting closer to becoming a reality.

Pro: As TYA guys go, Ryan Hollins isn’t bad.

(TYA = Tall, Young, Alive.)

Hollins hasn’t done much in his career, but boy does he have some tools. He’ll make one or two plays every game that make you wonder why he isn’t a MUCH bigger deal. He’ll then make three or four plays that remind you exactly why he isn’t a bigger deal, but those can theoretically be fixed. Hollins has serious upside, uptempo basketball should suit him perfectly, and he’s 25. If he doesn’t play at all, the Cavs only owe him $5 million over the next two years. If everything works out for him, he could be a worse version of JaVale McGee! CATCH THE FEVER!

Pro: The Cavs got rid of Delonte’s contract with a minimum of fuss.

They made it clear they wanted to get rid of his $4.5 million in guaranteed money before the August 5th deadline, and they got something back for him in return. The Wolves will reportedly waive him, so it’ll be interesting to see where he’ll go — I’d LOVE to see him back in Cleveland, for reasons I’ll get into in a bit. If he becomes a bargain-basement guy, he’s a MAJOR steal. (By the way, Miami could definitely use West to back up both guard spots next season. Just going to throw that out there.)

Pro: The Cavs just completed a trade with David Kahn.

I have near-complete faith in my lack of faith in David Kahn. He had no leverage here, and his moves have not been good. I take solace in this.

Con: Ramon Sessions isn’t all that.

Ramon Sessions is a heckuva 8.2 points/3.1 assists player, but he’s still an 8.2 points/3.1 assists player. He’s not going to put the team over the top, and I don’t see any way this team wins a playoff series with Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams leading the charge every night. I worry that this trade will make the Cavs just good enough to cost themselves a high-lottery pick. I’d love to see this team limp into the playoffs. I wouldn’t mind a 15-20 win season and a ticket in the Harrison Barnes sweepstakes. What terrifies me is 5 seasons of 30-40 win basketball and #12 picks.

Con: This team may now suck at defense.

Take a look at the Cavs’ current rotation:

1. Antawn Jamsion — not a good defender

2. Mo Williams — unspeakably horrible defender

3. Anderson Varejao — excellent system defender

4. J.J. Hickson — absolutely terrible defender

5. Jamario Moon — talented but fundamentally iffy on defense

6. Ramon Sessions — awful defender in Minnesota

7. Anthony Parker — Solid NBA defensive player, above-average but way overrated as a lockdown guy

8. Daniel Gibson — good point guard defender, but a small point guard

9. Danny Green — question mark defensively

10. Leon Powe — not a good defender

The Cavs just lost a defensive mastermind in Mike Brown, and playing up-tempo often means taking more defensive gambles. Oh, and the best way to get wins out of a relatively untalented team is to play defense. I’m nervous about this.

Con: Delonte West should’ve been fought for.

I’m going to reserve final judgement on this until Delonte signs somewhere — for all I know, the Cavs plan to get him back, and the Wolves waiving him indicates that Delonte’s market value is less than $5 million right now. Not to put too fine a point on things, but this franchise has made it clear that it feels basketball is more than just a business. Saving money by waiving a player who played harder than anybody else, gave the Cavs huge bang for their buck in his first year with the team, fought with bipolar disorder for two seasons, struggled with his demons all season, played whatever role the team told him to without complaint, and is now the subject of The Rumor doesn’t seem to reflect a more-than-a-business¬†philosophy. Full post coming if and when he gets signed, but right now I feel like Delonte deserved better.

Con: TELFAIR TELFAIR TELFAIR.

Family Guy isn’t my favorite corner of the zeitgeist, but a reference feels appropriate here. Remember the Christmas episode, where Peter and the kids got the family’s gifts stolen, they scorched the turkey and nearly burned down the house, and generally completely ruined Christmas, but Lois seemed completely fine? Then she asked for a paper towel, found out there weren’t any left, and then just completely lost it? That’s how I feel right now.

Team unceremoniously dumps Mike Brown, the most successful coach in franchise history? Had to be done.

LeBron leaves? I made my peace with that.

Z, one of the most beloved players in franchise history, follows him? Good for Z.

The Cavs essentially waive Delonte, my favorite remaining player on the team? I saw that coming?

But TELFAIR? They really had to go ahead and make Telfair a throw-in? Telfair was my island of happiness in this hellstorm of an offseason. Whatever happened, I could always look forward to Telfair getting real minutes in an up-tempo system. The man is a genius in the open floor, at least in flashes. He’s just been stuck in half-court systems since his sophomore season. Now he’s stuck in the triangle, not to mention 40 other point guards. I didn’t need to see Telfair live up to his potential as a great change-of-pace distributor/scorer guard in a run-and-gun system. What bothers me is that he’ll likely never get a real chance. This one really took the wind out of my sails.

Well, there you have it. Welcome to Cleveland, Ramon Sessions. Sebastain and Delonte, you will be missed.


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