Giving out grades: Ramon Sessions

July 11th, 2011 by John Krolik

It was an up-and-down year for Razor Ramon and me. I was extremely excited about the Sessions trade when it happened, mostly because I believed that Sessions, once freed from the triangle, would go back to being the pure point he was in Milwaukee and be the best Cavalier pure point since Andre Miller.

Things didn’t turn out that way. As Mo Williams had his ups and downs trying to become a playmaker, Razor Ramon was apparently told or believed that his role was to provide instant scoring off the bench. Since Ramon can’t really shoot from the outside, that led to a lot of reckless drives to the rim that ended in hopeless floaters or turnovers.

Still, every now and again, Ramon would have it click, and the Cavs offense never looked better in the first half of the season than it did when Ramon was running the show. He’d penetrate relentlessly, he’d open up passing lanes for his teammates, and he’d actually get a drive-and-kick offense going. Still, those games were few and far between, and when the Cavs were having their historically terrible stretch, Ramon seemed to be content to be the lord of garbage time.

However, when Mo got injured and Ramon took over the starting spot, it REALLY started to click for him. He actually started making his jumper often enough to keep the defense honest, his drives to the rim had purpose, and he even looked like a true point guard and made good decisions when the defense collapsed on him. In February, Ramon averaged 20 points and 8.8 assists per game on 56.3% shooting from the field. That’s one heck of a month from a point guard.

When Baron took the starting spot, Ramon had some growing pains, but he seemed to figure it out near the end of the year, and he averaged 17.6 points on 53.3% shooting over the last month of the season.

The good news is that if Ramon can play like he did in February and April next season, he’s the perfect guy to lead a second unit. Then there’s the bad news, and there’s a lot of it.

First of all, there’s the matter of Ramon’s defense. One of my theories is that a point guard can’t hurt a team that badly defensively in today’s NBA, because nobody can stop point guards off the dribble anyways with the new rules, but Ramon made me question that belief. According to every advanced metric, Ramon was absolutely atrocious on defense. That’s something you can survive from a backup point guard, especially if Byron Scott can get through to him and teach him to guide his man towards the help, but it’s certainly not a good thing.

Also, there’s the matter of Baron Davis and Kyrie Irving. Sessions has a player option for the 2012/13 season, as does Baron. Baron is a better point guard than Sessions — even if Baron doesn’t continue to make threes like he did as a Cav, he’s a noticeably better pure point than Ramon, and everything simply flowed better when Baron was on the floor. And Kyrie isn’t going anywhere for a long, long time.

So here’s the paradox: Ramon is too good to trade him for the sake of trading him, the Cavs have no real need for him, and he’s not good enough to get any significant assets back in a trade. I’d like to see the Cavs play things conservative with Ramon on the block — Baron can’t be trusted to stay healthy for 82 games, and Kyrie is just a rookie. At $4 million a season, Ramon is a bit expensive for a default option, but it’s not like he’s killing the cap or anything.

Sessions is still only 25, and I’d like to see him be the team’s backup for Kyrie in the long-term after Baron’s contract runs out. Still, two years is a long time to keep a player on ice, and I’m realistic — there’s not much chance Ramon stays a Cav for the rest of his contract. For what it’s worth, Razor Ramon, we certainly had some good times together.

2010-11 Grade: B minus

Dump Him/Trade Him/Would Like To Keep/Would Love to Keep/Untouchable: Would like to keep