Point guard Ramon Sessions gave up a guaranteed season with the Los Angeles Lakers to go find a deal with the Charlotte Bobcats. Makes no sense, right?
Actually it does when you hear the whole story: Sessions thought he’d end up Lakers trade bait, so he opted out of the last season under his old contract. He’s best suited for the up-tempo style new Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap prefers. And for the first time since high school in Myrtle Beach, Sessions is near home.
He says you take home for granted until it’s taken from you. He was a late qualifier academically. Most colleges wanted him to spend a year in prep school. Then, in August following his senior year of high school, Nevada offered a scholarship.
The first night in the dormitories, on the other side of the country, he called his mom to say, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to make it.’’
He proved stronger than he realized. Sessions starred on Nevada teams that consistently made the NCAA tournament. He’s with his fifth team in six NBA seasons, but now he has some job security: A two-year contract with the Bobcats with a total value of $10 million.
And he has a coach who values what he does best – push the ball.
“Over 94 feet, he’s very quick,’’ Dunlap said of Sessions. “He can play what I call 2-for-1s. By that I mean he draws a second defender to him when he drives the gap, and then finds the open guy.’’
Sessions was intrigued when he heard Dunlap’s NBA background was with George Karl in Denver. Sessions loves the way the Nuggets push the ball, and his game is a little like that of Ty Lawson, the former North Carolina star playing point guard in Denver.
Sessions will share the point with second-year Bobcat Kemba Walker. They’re a little different, in that Walker is more of a stop-and-go dribbler, while Sessions is more of a roadrunner.
“I can go from gear one and then shoot to gear four or five really suddenly,’’ Sessions said. “It gives defenses trouble.’’
The challenge right now is learning when and where each of his new teammates wants the ball. There were times in training camp when he threw such wild passes they seemingly had no target.
“There were passes in the past I could throw that I can’t throw here yet,’’ Sessions said. “For now, those guys have to expect passes coming out of nowhere.’’
He’s happy he got to choose a new home. He didn’t play particularly well in the postseason with the Lakers, and sensed they were shopping around. Eventually they ended up with Steve Nash, in a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns.
“The Lakers are known to get big names. With that one year left, I didn’t want to go into the season with uncertainty,’’ Sessions said. “I felt I’d done enough to get a respectable contract, and I’m happy to be here.’’