Ramon Sessions is already one of the NBA’s best-traveled journeymen, playing for five teams in six seasons. After one year in Charlotte, he could be the odd man out once again — but it’s not due to his level of play.
Sessions joined the Bobcats in 2012, signing as insurance in case Kemba Walker didn’t grow into a starting-quality point guard. When it became clear that Walker had made a significant leap, however, Sessions’ role became a little fuzzier. His consistent scoring made him invaluable on the second unit, but a crowded backcourt of Walker, Gerald Henderson, Ben Gordon and Jeff Taylor meant then-coach Mike Dunlap was forced into playing awkward small-ball lineups.
Sessions held his own at shooting guard, and lineups featuring Kemba and Ramon performed marginally better than the team’s average on both offense and defense. But the two are still an imperfect fit — neither are particularly good long-range shooters, and both need the ball in their hands to play their best. New coach Steve Clifford has hinted that small ball is on its way out, so it seems likely Sessions will move to a pure backup role.
That’s unfortunate, as he was one of the Bobcats’ most consistent players last year. Though his shooting efficiency wasn’t great, Sessions was terrific at drawing fouls and converting those opportunities. Among guards that played at least 15 minutes a game, Sessions ranked second in free throws per field goal attempted. The rest of the top five included James Harden, Ricky Rubio, John Wall and Kobe Bryant.
That meant a lot of ugly basketball, but it also provided a steady steam of points for a team that desperately needed them. Combined with his skilled ball-handling, good passing and passable defense, Sessions was a positive veteran presence for Charlotte last year — and with one year and $5 million left on his contract, he’s been a good contributor at a great price.
That value and his possibly diminishing role means he could find himself on the trade block, however. Despite being several years into their rebuild, Charlotte still has some gaping holes (shooting shooting shooting), and first-round picks are always welcome. It seems unlikely that Sessions will remain in town past this year, in any case, and he’s one of the few veteran Bobcats with much trade value. If they get an offer that isn’t insulting, they should at least consider it.
Until then, though, they can count on Sessions as a bench anchor and a steadying influence for a young squad that needs one.