Lakers/Wolves: New Lakers In Sessions

Rey Moralde —  March 16, 2012

Box Score: Lakers 97, Wolves 92
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 106.6, Wolves 101.1
True Shooting %: Lakers 56.4%, Wolves 47.7%

The trade deadline is gone. For months (heck, for years), us Laker fans knew what we wanted. What we really, really wanted. We wanted a much better PG. The deadline cost the Lakers Derek Fisher. But what the Lakers got back? A young, quick 1 in Ramon Sessions.

Also, goodbye to Luke Walton. And goodbye to Jason Kapono. We hardly knew ya, Jason. And hello, Jordan Hill and Christian Eyenga! Jordan Hill. She sounds hot.

THE GOOD
Let’s start with Matt Barnes. He seems to play really well against these Wolves (remember his 23-point effort last year where he didn’t miss a single shot). In this game, he scored 17 points off the bench (6/9 shooting). He made three shots behind the arc, which is three more than what the Lakers usually make per contest. He and that new point guard (who we’ll get to in a bit) were the catalysts of that 19-6 run in the second quarter. After that, the Lakers were seemingly in cruise control; the Wolves never seemed like a threat to win the game. L.A. played well enough (though by no means did they play excellent) to win the contest.

It’s really hard to make out what was extremely good in the still-together core of Kobe Bryant (who’s probably going to play a bunch of Grand Theft Auto or Mortal Kombat for the rest of the season since his BFF is gone from the squad), Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. Gasol, who probably listened to a lot of Boyz II Men before the trade deadline, started out really fast but, in the overall game, wasn’t the most impressive. Neither was Andrew Bynum; he had trouble making shots inside and stopping the Wolves on the opposite end. Kobe didn’t have a high-percentage shooting night, though he was blowing smoke off his fingers every time he put up a shot behind the arc. But they all produced. Kobe Bryant had 28 points (including that baseline J that put the game away) on 9-for-20 shooting. Pau Gasol had 17 and 11 while Bynum had 15 and 14.

As for the debut of Ramon Sessions? He brought some much-needed speed and quickness to this Lakers team. Compared to Derek Fisher, Ramon is Sonic The Hedgehog. He was a sparkplug off the bench today (obviously, it’s his first game so it was best to bring him off the pine) and had a crowd-pleasing one-on-four fastbreak lay-up (okay, he burned everyone). It was quite shocking to see such a play made by one wearing the purple-and-gold. In 19 minutes, Sessions finished with 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists. Just what the doctor ordered.

Steve Blake started in place of the recently-departed Fisher. He played a quiet but very good floor game to the tune of 6 assists and 0 turnovers.

Led by Matt Barnes, the bench scored 31 points. Yes, I know. I’m as surprised as you are.

This normally doesn’t happen, either. The Lakers never beat anybody behind the arc. But the Lakers made 10 3-pointers compared to the Wolves’ 4. An 18-point advantage in that department is always good.

Also, the Wolves struggled to make shots. They only ended up making 40.2% of their shots. Always a good thing if the Lakers’ opponents don’t shoot well, right?

THE BAD
Those big guys must be difficult to box out or something. The Wolves beat them in the offensive glass, 18-11. Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love combined for 12 offensive rebounds alone.

Andrew Bynum really struggled tonight on both sides as the Wolves threw big bodies at him. The repeated double-teaming got to him. He only shot 4-for-13 but, at least, he perservered and still got big numbers in the end.

The Wolves also scored 48 points inside the paint as they tried to abuse the Lakers inside. The Lakers countered back with 12 blocked shots, yes, but it was a bit of a concern throughout the game. Because Minnesota never seemed to make noise about coming back, we might have seen the quietest 27-15 performance from Kevin Love. Nikola Pekovic also had big numbers at 20 and 12.

The Lakers also had some trouble defending the pick-and-roll. Luke Ridnour had 11 points and 12 assists. These would be more glaring issues if the Lakers were losing or won in a closer game (because, seriously, the scoreboard doesn’t indicate how the Lakers controlled this game).

The Lakers only shot 41.3 percent. I can’t say this was a good thing, either.

Also? No Ricky Rubio. And we all know he’s not returning this season. I’m going to go cry in the corner now.

THE UGLY
Not the most exciting game to watch even if the Lakers controlled the contest nearly the entire game. The first quarter was as exciting as staring at a blank computer screen. The game came alive when Ramon Sessions came in so let’s thank him for that!

Also ugly? Ask the Wolves. They haven’t beaten the Lakers in 19 straight contests.

THE PLAY OF THE GAME
The fastbreak dunk by Kobe Bryant off the Steve Blake assist in the second quarter. Nikola Pekovic can tell his grandkids later that he was in a poster with Kobe Bryant. Well, heck, I want to be in a Kobe Bryant poster, too.

That video makes me want to go to Germany, sing some David Hasselhoff songs, and get that knee procedure. Even though there’s nothing wrong with my knees other than the fact that I can’t jump over ants.

The Lakers draw Utah in Staples Center on Sunday. L.A. is 19-2 at that comfy stadium. And they have won 5 straight games overall. They could be peaking right now. And with the new Sessions acquisition (and Jordan Hill… and Christian Eyenga…), the Lakers are now a tougher team to go against.

Before I end this, I want to get a few words in about Derek Fisher as well. Most of us have called for Derek Fisher’s head due to his on-court performance in the last few years. But those championship banners don’t hang without Derek Fisher. Yes, we cringe and shout expletives every time he gets burned by an opposing point guard and when he misses one of his now-patented foot-on-the-line shots. But Fisher just has that ability to make the shots under the most pressure. We all remember the shot against Orlando in the Finals that sent the game to OT. In that same contest, he made another big 3 that essentially won them the game. There was also Game 3 in the 2010 NBA Finals when he made a lay-up against three Celtics. We can never forget that post-game interview about how he much loved his team and this game. Not many people talk about this but he made that game-tying three in the fourth quarter in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. The Lakers never relinquished the lead after that moment and went on to win the championship. And, of course, 0.4. That moment is immortal. We will always have that and that’s thanks to Derek Fisher.

For every big shot… it’s hook, line, sinker, Fish. We will all miss you, Derek Fisher. Good luck the rest of the way. This game was for you.

Rey Moralde

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106 responses to Lakers/Wolves: New Lakers In Sessions

  1. Sessions had a nice debut. We all saw what different dimension he brings to the Lakers (a true penetrating threat in early offense situations, P&R’s, vision and creativity. I think he will be better off coming off the bench for the meantime, but like in Cleveland, I feel he is ready to be a full-time starter. Gotta love ‘em Sessions! Hope he becomes another Billups (tough first couple of years in the league), but blossoming into a solid, and big time player

  2. I was at the game and let me just tell you… Dude is fast. I havent seen a PG that quick in person since I saw CP3 five years ago. It was the same type of feel. Like my eyes can’t catch unto the player on the court. See… Its easier on TV to follow a speeding mutant of a human being. Soon the rare times I get to see a basketball game up close and personal it makes an impression. But it was dizzying trying to get your eyes to follow this guy up the court. Now I am not saying he is some kind of great player…. I’m saying I’m not used to this kind of PG. sessions is a dime a dozen kind of guy in the nba today. But now we finally have ten cents.

  3. Fish will come back…soon.

    Well, not as a player…or maybe that very last game, I’m up for that.

    But it was a relief to see a younger PG running the thing. But still, Fisher is a TRUE Laker and must be part of the franchise one way or another. We’ll be waiting for this moment.

    And Sessions…well…we all had that WOW moment, I guess. He seems to be a very good fit.

    Cheers

  4. Lakers bench-31 pts 14 reb 8 ast.

    Team-18 fastbreak points, 16 pts off turnovers

    1st game after trades it’s lots of adrenaline. Have to build on this game vs Utah.

  5. To anyone who says the Lakers are only about cutting costs, about how the team is different, and Jim Buss is a money grubber:

    You obviously have not been reading recent articles. We tried to pick up Beasley, which would have brought on millions of dollars in payroll.

    Im getting really tired of reading everyones posts on here about how this isnt like the Lakers, theyre changing, Jim Buss is a money grubber. Its silly. Mitch Kupchak HIMSELF said they were willing to spend money if it were going to make the team better. But you dont just throw that money around, you have to be intelligent with it, which the Lakers mostly have been, and are obviously continuing to be.

    Also FISH WAS TRADED TO AVOID LOCKER ROOM CHEMISTRY PROBLEMS. This was basically stated outright by the GM Kupchak. You guys can think whatever you want, but the lakers’ management words and actions both speak to the contrary.

    After tonights game, even with as little we’ve seen from Session, doesn’t it seem like they made a good decision?

  6. #5 You are absolutely right. This was just a great move by Mitch and Jim Buss. They brought in young needed talent and were able to do it by trading 3 guys that would have been making over 10 mil combine while that sat at the end of the bench. Yes it hurts losing Fish but we already have the highest payroll in the NBA so it is completely understandable to trade guys that were not going to contribute much.

    If it was all about dumping salary Pau would be a T-wolf right now.

  7. Frank – I think everybody is happy about Sessions. That has been been discussed and commented on at length. The Fish for Hill trade was an entirely different issue. Cost savings is moot – their salaries offset. You say it was all about avoiding locker room issues – fine, that’s your opinion. I watched all of the Kupchak coverage as well. There’s ample room for interpretation there. Yesterday was not black or white issue – there’s a lot of gray area, and discussions about same are what this is all about, otherwise we might as well not post at all.

  8. @Aaron, i was gonna ask you all of those questions, but u just answered all of them.
    im sure sessions will be starting by the end of next week, but i had just an inkling of keeping him on the bench to help our bench production. cuz our bench looked really good.
    pau had a good game. bynums worst game in a long time and the lakers were easily in control. this should be a fun few weeks before the playoffs

  9. It’s not really just my opinion. It’s the opinion of our GM, and most Lakers and NBA analysists. Mitch himself said it’s never an easy situation to bench a 16 year old veteran who has started for the team for what, 5 years? So they handled it.

    Obviously this message board is meant for discussion, but not to repeatedly beat a dead horse with erroneous information and assumptions made without any inside knowledge of the situation. Again, i’ll trust those directly involved, and their words and actions have spoken clearly.

  10. I remember when in Drew’s bad games he posted numbers like 4 points, 6 rebounds, 0 assists, and 0 blocks. Tonight’s bad game was 15 pts, 14 rebs, 2 assists, and 2 blocks.

    We could have a really dynamic bench soon, with a rotation ten deep, and Murphy not playing at all. Blake pushing the pace at PG and Goudelock as his backcourt running mate, Barnes and McRoberts at forward, and Jordan Hill at the five. It could be something for MB to experiment with after our starters open up a 15-point lead after the first quarter :D

  11. 5,

    I’ll put it this way Frank, we all know trading Fisher and Walton are the best moves Mitch made for decades, it’s classic. However, it is also difficult to bridge emotions from intelligence at this time. The heart and the brain may have symbiotic relationship with each other as organs but they function differently in dealing with situations. Laker fans are human too and also traditional. I hope we tolerate one another the different kinds of breed of interpretation that comes out from this trade. The hard core fans says : “it’s great, we got younger”; the moderates says, “well why not accommodate the loyal oldie with the new PG, the elder also made substantial contributions in the past”; while the occasional fan who watches the Lakers once in a while, asserts themselves with authority: “Fisher is a role model of our children, btw, who is this Sessions anyway?”

    Perhaps, the best thing is just laugh and tolerate each others opinion, time passes which eventually heals the inadequacies of the brain and the heart. Just my 2 cents.

    Go Lakers, go Sessions give them hell!

  12. We fans may as well stop worrying about the financials. The Lakers are smart for shedding salary where they can. The new CBA will basically make it impossible for tax paying teams to improve their rosters once all the new provisions kick in. The league basically has a hard cap coming down the pipe and the Lakers have to do what they can to get under it.

    If they don’t then we fans will be griping and complaining about the team not being able to improve because they won’t have cap space to sign anyone good, they won’t have the full midlevel, and they won’t be able to do sign and trades. The good old days of $90 million dollar payroll are gone.

  13. We needed another big. We only had 4 on the roster, you need 5. Thats why we traded Fish for Hill. Remember we had a trade for Beasley in place but it fell through, so we needed to find another big somewhere. By the way, Hill is another energy guy that should be useful.

  14. Watching Sessions push the pace as a one-man fastbreak makes me smile. He can do a lot of the things Parker did for the old Spurs.

    Those teams were essentially very slow teams, with big players umbering up and down the court, but Paker would keep opposing teams transition defense honest with his speed and ability to convert against a scrambling defense.

    It was one game, but it looks likea whole new dimension.

  15. Hill should get a little burn. I will be disappointed if Brown DNPs him all the time.

  16. Frank the Tank March 17, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Edwin -

    I agree with you. I just think people should look at the all the facts before throwing out all kind of assumptions. Obviously people are going to be emotional about Fish leaving, and I’ll miss him just as much as the next guy.. but people are on here saying that now Buss is only interested in shedding payroll, and the Lakers franchise isn’t the same, now we’re just like any other franchise, that the Lakers will trade Kobe if we had the chance. I mean, c’mon, that’s just silly. For one, we know they were willing to take on salary for Beasley, and probably will do so this summer, at least with a possible Sessions contract. Mitch stated outright that the Buss family has and always will be willing to have a high payroll if the team is competing for championships. As many here have noted, it’s not a bad thing to try to maintain some financial flexibility with the extremely restrictive new CBA rules kicking in the next few years. People need to remember we are talking about the Lakers here, we have missed the playoffs 5 times in the last what.. 60 years?! As much as i would love it, can’t win every year. Honestly, that would get kinda boring anyway, don’t you think?

  17. Let’s move onto the important stuff. Namely, what is Ramon’s nickname?

    I move for RamSes. As in, Ramses the Great.

  18. So far so good.

    The trade, if we can set aside the emotional factor and the worries about chemistry, was one that simply only happens in the real world. It’s simply too good to be true in fantasy situations but works in real life because people have different ways of measuring value – Kudos to Kupchak for exploiting it, AGAIN.

    Anyway, the first game, against the T-Wolves is nothing to get overly worked up for, but it does get your hopes up. Maybe we can hope for some RAMSANITY here ;)

  19. Anyone for Ramon “The Ram”Sessions

  20. Frank the Tank March 17, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Speaking of intangibles and clutchness, i was just thinking about Ariza’s TWO last minute steals to seal games against the Nugs, and also his third quarter in that game 4, he hit a few threes to keep us in the game when we were struggling. That was a great team to watch, missed those days. But i’m excited to watch this new Laker team. I think Sessions and World Peace will both step up in the playoffs.

  21. Frank the Tank March 17, 2012 at 6:25 am

    And ill probably just call him Sesh..

  22. Nice beginning. Our Lakers have just added a fast break element to their game, and finishers who run (Kobe, Barnes, McRob, G.Lock) will be that much more effective when Sessions is on the floor.

    Can’t remember being so impressed with a 7 pt, 5 asst, 4 reb performance as I was last night. I know it’s early, but for the 1st time this season I feel our Lakers can be classified as serious title contenders along with the Thunder, Heat, Spurs, & Bulls.

  23. Now that things have settled down and emotions have cooled, I think that we can see the depth and wisdom of the Lakers’ deadline moves.We all love Fish, but he was slowing down the future of his team. The Lakers are no longer a triangle team and as such could no longer hide Fish’s deficiencies. Pro sports is a heartless business. Fish had to go.

    IF…..the Lakers could have pulled off the Beasley trade, they would have catapulted themselves into the championship mix, IMO. Beasley’s offensive skillset and his ability to hit the 3 would have been a perfect complement to the second unit. I hope the Lakers revisit the possibility of acquiring him this summer.

    In the meantime, Houston waived Terence Williams. He’s another fine offensive talent who can play the 2 or 3. TW might be worth a look. I’m really excited about this team’s chances. A tweak here or there or a late season acquisition off the waiver wire just may put them over the top.

  24. The Wolves owner apparently killed the Fisher to Blazers, Crawford to Twolves and Beasley to Lakers with 7mins left before the trade deadline (trade had been good as done for the past two days). Mitch admitted that he had to trade Fisher to avoid politics in the locker room (MB having to bench Fish, Kobe silently grumbling for Fish to be in late in games, and basically having someone looking over Sessions’ shoulders). So let’s just commend GM Kupchack for coming up with something (Jordan Hill) and avoiding a real mess of having 3 PG’s and our 16yr vet and 5yr starter Fisher being benched with 7mins left on the clock. I guess that was the reason why looked that way during the press conference

  25. Judging from the reactions, Sessions’ debut was a big hit.

    Off-topic, but… a while ago, Aaron called Pau mentally soft. And I know we all tend to react violently when Pau is called soft. To do so ignores his play during his championship runs. But there are always shades of gray, and to just as emphatically say that he’s not soft is to ignore this:

    “It was a big load off my shoulders” to pass the trade deadline, Gasol said. “It was exhausting to have to deal with for two, three months pretty much on a daily basis.”

    That stuck out to me a little. I don’t know what the “soft” label means and I won’t throw it around; I think it’s a useless label. But I think it’s very fair to say – the dude admitted it himself – that the trade rumors wore on him mentally. Compare that to Drew, who just doesn’t care about these things (as far as we know).

    My only point being – I’ll be interested to see if we notice a change in Pau’s play or aggressiveness or energy. His quote seems to imply he’s played with that hanging over his head the entire season. Whether it had an impact on his game or not remains to be seen.

  26. We call Sessions, ” Razor Ramon” in Cleveland. You’re getting a great guy!! Hard worker, humble and fast. We are happy for him from Cleveland. He’s too good of a PG to be a backup. You’ll see. You’ll Love his funny sayings.

  27. I was glad to see Kobe have some really positive things to say about Sessions. It hurts to lose a good friend, but I am pretty sure Kobe gets it. He can see what everyone else sees.

    Also, it will be interesting to see how these additions impact the Lakers this season. Are these tweaks enough to make them contenders again. I know there were many calling for the Lakers to ‘blow it up.’

    Frank the Tank @ 5 – to me the brilliance of these deals was the salary dump part of them. I have been a fan of Mitch (holding off on Jim evaluations until we see more of a sample size). The reality of the new NBA is that salary is going to matter. Getting rid of Fish may have been expedient in terms of eliminating locker room tension – but it was first and foremost a salary dump (as was Luke) and that was a very good thing. So I agree, people need to back off the FO criticism, but I think you (and all of us) also need to embrace the salary related issues now. They are going to be huge.

  28. Liked the speed and pace Sessions brings. McBob,Barnes, Hill,and even Ebanks can run when the PG sets the pace which is OK as long as TO`s are kept low. Lot of open looks for Barnes and Kobe. Would like to use speed and a deeper roster to cut down on the minutes from the Big 3.

  29. Mitch pulled another rabbit out of the hat. I wasn’t in favor of Sessions for a 1 and cap space, or Beasley for that matter, but dumping two contracts like that was pure genius. Clearly, I was wrong in my thinking on Sessions. I haven’t been that excited for a regular season game in a while. I was literally giddy when he blew by 4 players for a layup.

    This team can now seriously contend for the title. That is, if MB can figure out proper rotations, for which I have serious reservations. IMO, Sessions and Barnes should start to provide fast break and outside shooting elements to the unit. Bring MWP off the bench and in late game defensive stop situations. I would like to see the second unit develop into a defensive specialty unit like Chicago. Don’t seem to have the guys for it now, but MWP and Hill are a good start.

  30. Very pleased with the moves. Agree with Walton,Kapono and Fisher. If you can improve your team AND cut cost that is a win-win.

    Not pleased that Metta is still a Laker. Watching him brick 20, 10 ,5 foot shots last night reminded me how pathetic a offensive player he is.

    But then going from 3 on 5 to 4 on 5 is a 20% improvement and that’s not bad. Barnes is the type of cutter on offense that would excel with RS on the floor.

    Only hope someone explains that to Brown.

  31. I’m wondering how MB is going to do the rotations. I assumed Sessions would be the starter eventually, but after last night, he and Barnes really seem to work well together and put real pressure on the defense with their speed.

    Barnes had a great game, but I’m wondering if Sessions had something to do with it. When Barnes was the only one on the bench with any speed, it was easy to contain him. Now that defenses have to account for both, Barnes might be getting more opportunities. It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds.

    I do already miss DFish’s entertaining fast breaks though!

  32. 26,

    Gasol’s softness whether perceived mentally and witnessed physically is sometimes deceiving. He is a lanky Euro you’d think would buckle down against the physicality of the game in the post and yet he keeps on going and score 20 pts. easily also with double digit rebounds. He could dribble the ball from back court to front court faster than any Centers who are playing today. Will Pau be a monster in dunking shots? I doubt. Will he be a good assist man for bynum in orbit? I think so because only Gasol and Bynum could communicate at that level of the ring with ease that a PG would reach.

    With regards to what Aaron said of mental softness, if that is true then Gasol could not have continued playing this season after the Lakers failed attempt in trading him to the Rockets. I would consider him a consummate professional in dealing with business situation. When Bynum was injured in ’09, Gasol assumed that position and Lakers got b2b titles. Lastly, as the Center of Team Spain, time and time again, he has placed his country on FIBA’s map on the same level of USA whose players are the best of NBA. Will you regard that mental softness? I would term it as the use of smart power with soft presentation.

  33. Dude,
    Someone just compared Sessions to Tony Parker and let me say that’s a great comparison. They are very similar players after seeing me both Kay in person. Obviously today Sessions is a lot more athletic (age). They also are both 6-1. No way Sessions is 6-3. He was a could inches shorter than Blake. At least two inches. I’d like to see his draft measurements Darius. So Darius, I will now sort of agree with you. Session’s is too short to be an above average defender. But I do think he is quick enough to be average or below average and that would be a giant upgrade defensivley.

    Also… Jordan Hill. My good friend who is an NFL agent went to U of A and said this guys “ain’t 6-10″. Well… I saw him standing next to Artest before the game and he is more like 6-7 or 6-8. We was exactly Artests height it seemed. And is very slim. Not to worry as he will be the back up PF with Gasol sliding over to Center.

  34. Snoopy,
    Exactly. I never said he was the most mentally soft player of all time. Actually… I said he wasn’t that. But he is mentally soft as all the information from the last year suggests. Hopefully now we see a new Gasol :)

    This is from a Cle fan called Tammie….

    “We call Sessions, ” Razor Ramon” in Cleveland. You’re getting a great guy!! Hard worker, humble and fast. We are happy for him from Cleveland. He’s too good of a PG to be a backup. You’ll see. You’ll Love his funny sayings.”

    The irony huh? Cause for years we said this of our PG “He’s too bad of a PG to be a starter”

  35. #32. Ron’s contributions must still be measured in what he provides on both sides of the ball. Via Synergy, he’s still ranked as a top tier defender and via 82games he holds SF’s to a 10.7 PER when he guards them (essentially, turning his man into Dhantay Jones every night) with the Lakers 4 points better per 100 possessions defensively when he’s on the floor vs. when he sits (which is even better than Bynum).

    Yes, his offense is pretty bad this season (though he still has utility on that side of the floor that go beyond his shooting percentages). But he’s still very much a key player for his defense which is still a tangible contribution. Which, sad to say, could not still be said about Fisher.

  36. paraphrasing vladimir putin: whoever does not miss fisher has no heart. whoever wants him back as a starter has no brain.

  37. 32,

    Ken, perhaps it is time to appreciate the wonders of Ron Artest in Metta W. Peace. How many pts. did he score in defending the best scorer on the other team whether P. Pierce, Lebron, Kaman, Blake and more? Perhaps, Lakers won those games because of the defense of MWP although I agree some games were also lost because of his bricked 3 pointers.

  38. Darius, I think that’s where having Barnes + Artest helps. When we need someone to stop a bull in a China shop we can use Artest and weather his poor shooting. Barnes all season has kind of been an enigma to me, the guy played extremely well earlier in the season when the Lakers went on their win streak. Last night shows he has the capability to score (even if inconsistent), even though he’s not as great defensively as Artest he still makes things happen on the floor in terms of player movement, rebounding, and defensive rotations. I realize Artest needs to start to be surrounded by better players to make up for his weaknesses as an offensive player, but it’s scary to think what this team would look like with a SF that could consistently knock down shots like a Rick Fox type player.

  39. Love was having a huge night until Brown put Metta on him late. Metta shuts him down and seals the win. Enough said.

  40. Artest is the Kobe Bryant of defense. He is so focused and relentless. It’s awesome to see. He never lets up. If people were smart Artest would be viewed exactly how the media views Carmelo Anthony and Amare. Guys that are great at half the game and below par at the other half. But defense isn’t as easy to see visually or statistically.

  41. 40,

    That player (Rick Fox) could be Crawford or Beasley who might be available July. Will they accept MLE contracts?

  42. I really think it’s time for the Lakers to hand a banner where the names and numbers of key championship contributors can be displayed. How much would any of us be willing to pay to come to Staples Center for the night when Fisher, Horry, LO, Fox, Coop, Scott, Worthy, Nixon, Hariston, and a few others, all gather in center court and raise this banner? I’m not saying those numbers will be retired, but they should be displayed. Consider that many of our great role players are more known by casual basketball fans then the stars of many other teams. I think that sort of honor is warranted for these guys. Looking forward to find out if players like Artest might make that ceremony. No doubt Bynum and Gasol have a chance to add their names to to the number retirement wall.

  43. Lakers8884,
    Rick Fox was not a good shooter. He was a career 35 percent three point shooter. What is Artest shooting from three since the all star break? You guessed it… Over 35 percent. What was the worst three point shooting season he has had with the Lakers? You guessed it… 35 percent. Plus Artest is a much better defender.Artest was out of shape when the season started. He is now in shape.

  44. @35 Sessions is 6’2” without shoes and has a 6’4.25” wingspan.

    http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Ramon-Sessions-466/

  45. For everyone who is still pining away for Michael Beasley, let’s just note that, by his own admission, he spent Thursday having a “regular day”, which was watching “Fanboy and Chum Chum” on Nickelodeon while eating pizza, french fries, and lemonade, and nursing a sore toe.

    Meanwhile, Ramon Sessions sent out an email to the Laker coaching staff asking them to send him plays in case he was cleared to play Friday night.

    I know what kind of a guy I want on MY team.

  46. Can someone please explain the mechanics of a buyout? From what I’ve read, Fisher apparently has 3.4M left on his deal, which I assume is the money he is owed for the remainder of this season, plus his salary for next season. (Is that right?)

    If it is, then how is the buyout figure calculated (or what are the parameters if it is negotiated)? If Hou is in luxury tax land (and I don’t know if they are), then I assume that Fish’s 3.4M actually costs the team 6.8M in real expenses. Does this mean the buyout range is negotiated between 3.4M and 6.8M? If it’s less than that, why would Fisher agree (unless he thought he could exceed the difference with another contract)?

    If this is the case – that teams would pay OVER the value of a player’s contract so as not to incur luxury tax payments – then why aren’t there buyouts all over the place? Why wasn’t Luke bought out 2 years ago? And why would Houston do this– are they essentially paying off Fisher’s contract as the price for the draft pick they got in the trade?

    As a final, very basic question, am I right in understanding that a buyout is a negotiation rather than a component of a player’s contract (some kind of algorithm that establishes a locked-in buyout price based on a prorated # of games remaining)? Can Fish just say no?

    It’s incredible that I know so little about this works in practice given how often it is discussed conceptually.

  47. In my opinion, the real measure of Jim Buss will be seen this summer, when it’s time to open up the wallet to re-sign Sessions. The credit for this trade should be given to Mitch. For Buss, it was a no-brainer: ditching Luke’s contract and bringing in a good player. But we’ll see how aggressively he pushes to sign Sessions this summer.

    Edwin – I agree with everything you’re saying. Hence why I loathe the “soft” label. It’s a generalization that should be dropped. All I’m trying to point out is that in this very specific situation (I’m not generalizing across multiple situations), Pau admitted the trade talk grinded on him and may have affected his focus. Logically, if this is the case, we may see an improved Pau going forward. That was the only point of my post.

    Gasol: “It’s been pretty exhausting to deal with it pretty much on a daily basis for the last 2½ to three months. But now, it’s time to play…just focus on playing and trying to help the team as much as possible without worrying about anything else.”

    I agree with P. Ami. Role players should be honored in some way, and it’d be a classy step for us to be the first organization to really stand up and enshrine them somehow.

  48. Kaos,
    Thanks for those stats. I guess he looks smaller because he is so damn fast ;) He is happy to be a Laker and is humbled by his supporting casts talent… But he knows what he brings to the table… “These guys might think I’m on something, how fast I’m going to be moving around.” Yes Ramone… We do think you’re on something. In fact, we all think we are on something “Is that a Lakers PG beating his man off the dribble?” Strange days indeed

  49. Sessanity? Lol
    I like Razzor Ramon. Slicing and dicing to the basket.

  50. Tammie V @27, thanks for sharing – hearing that Sessions is hard working and humble is encouraging. He seemed like the serious type from what I saw last night. And as Jordial just posted he seems to want to learn and fit in. That is a great start and probably really important in earning Kobe’s trust.

  51. Yea, I’d really like to see the FO continue to go after Beasley in the summer. They kept the Odom TPE, I wonder if they can work out some sort of deal with Minnesota in the summer.

  52. Great little cute story from the OC Register…

    Lakers coach Mike Brown was asked Friday what he expects from newly acquired point guard Ramon Sessions in his pregame talk with reporters. Before he could speak, Sessions moved alongside the coach and spoke for himself.
    “My job is to be a play-maker,” Sessions began. “Also get guys shots, (and) if there’s a night where I need to score the ball I’ll score the ball.  (And) if I need to come out and pass the ball I can do that.
    “And defend.”
    Sessions was right with his to-do list. It was just in the wrong order for Brown’s liking.
    “He jumped the order,” Brown said. “It’s first defense, (second) defend and maybe defend, and third, go ahead and score. You got the green light to score, buddy. If you can get us a basket, go ahead and score.
    “After that make plays for others and after that play pick and roll and then get out in transition and get easy baskets. And play defense again.
    “See, we’re on the same page.”
    Brown even asked defensive stalwart Metta World Peace to remind Sessions of his first priority.
    “I did. I took him in the bathroom and told him that,” World Peace said.

  53. Is there any reason for us not to expect Jordan Hill to make his debut Sunday vs the Jazz? Does anyone know if Fisher has taken his physical yet? My understanding is that’s what holding things up.

  54. It will be interesting to see how the rotations work once Sessions is up to speed. I would like to see something like they do with Andrew. Bring Blake in early for Sessions. Give him a short blow and then bring him back to run with the 2nd unit as well. I think have Sessions, Barnes G-lock and McBob or Hill running would be very exciting.

  55. we will never see artest+fisher on the court at the same time, two slow-of-foot players.

  56. I am still struggling to wrap my head around how anyone could call James Worthy a role player. They don’t put role players in the Hall of Fame or retire their numbers. Just because Worthy played behind Magic and Kareem does not make him a role player; if anything it attests to how deep the Showtime Lakers were.

  57. ““I did. I took him in the bathroom and told him that,” World Peace said.”

    I’m dying! You can’t make this stuff up.

    btw, not sure if it’s been posted yet, but here’s the press conference that Ramon Sessions and Jordan Hill had before the Timberwolves game:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LdotMh3d5E

    Lots of interesting comments by both (mostly Ramon).

  58. Highly informative stat line from SS&R today:

    “Last night Ramon Sessions finished with 7 pts, 4 reb, and 5 assists in his Lakers debut. Steve Blake and Derek Fisher have each reached a line of at least 7 pts, 4 reb, and 5 assists only once in the last two seasons. That would be once in 119 games for Blake and once in the last 135 games for Fisher.”

    That pretty much says it all about just how much our lack of PG production has hampered the team. I mean, a line of 7, 4, and 5 is nothing…and each of our two PGs have only come up with that line once in the past two seasons. SMH
    http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2012/3/17/2880122/the-credits-detachment

  59. Dude,
    One word… Wow

  60. Dude,
    More than one word… Defensive rebounding. How many long rebounds did we give up the last two years because we didn’t have a PG who was athletic enough to get to them? As we guessed… There will be many ways we will learn how badly Fisher was costing us. And I hate to dwell on the past… But as I’ve said for a few years… It’s a shame we wasted so much of Kobe’s 30′s playing 4 on 5.

    Having said that… I would have cried at a drop of a hat Last night if the Lakers did any kind of a Fisher tribute. He meant that much to me.

  61. This is a huge pressure for Ramon Sensa”Sessions”, he suddenly rose to fame which used to belonged to ShanWow or LO Kardasian. That’s Hollywood, sudden fame and if you fail to keep up with expectation, it could also vanish. He has to keep on producing and improving in every game to keep up with the ratings. I hope we will try to lower our expectations about RS, after all we all are aware that tweaking the PG with anybody who is faster than D’Fish would be an improvement. What Ramon did was moved the ball, capitalize on openings and made some shots. It worked wonders and was contagious to the other Lakers who longing for great ball movement. Once RS learns the lob pass secret to our bigs, it would raise again his ratings. Right now, we’re still far from the Finals but at least there’s now hope in going deep without the need of clueless D12 or busted CP3.

  62. Michael H,
    You’re spot on and then some. And I think that’s exactly what we will see. Ramone is an athletic specimen. He can play a ton of minutes… So either way I think we will see Session’s on the floor a lot with Bynum and the second unit. I think we will see Ramone get subed around the 3 minute mark in the first and put back in to start the second quarter with Bynum, GLock, Barnes, and Jordan Hill. Eventually I wouldn’t be surprised to see the African SG we also got in the trade in that second unit over GLock. He is a freaky athlete with lots of upside. Either way… Our first and second unit got a lot younger and more athletic :)

  63. @Chris J… My bad. It was actually Worthy’s accomplishments that have me thinking Gasol could get his number retired as well. Not sure why his name wound up on my list. As much as I look forward to seeing Shaq’s number retirement ceremony, I think Lakers’ fans would have an even deeper connection to a banner being raised of the role-playing greats.

    Regarding Rick Fox and Ron… Those two are fairly similar with Fox’s offensive decision making sort of balancing out Ron’s rare ability to wreak havoc on D. I Rick’s hands were both very quick and strong. Not a lot of players were as good as Foxy in coming down on the ball as his player was bringing the ball up for a shot. Anyway, I like both players and each fills his role.

    The big difference in this team, predating the Sessions deal, is how much a part of the team Bynum has become. You can see how much his confidence and role has grown in that he is more featured then Gasol (Gasol being an uber facilitator) on the offense, often looks like the best player on the floor, and is hitting his FT at a clip that matches his form.

    Finally, I see no reason the D can’t manage to keep tightening up. What I most like about the Session deal is that we will be seeing the 1/4 and 1/5 pick and roll happening with Kobe as the safety release on that play. I’m most interesting in seeing how Sessions and Gasol work together. Both of them can pass on the go and are capable ball handlers. If you then have Kobe and Bynum available as your release… my lord, the offense will sing.

  64. I’m glad our PG is a upgrade but Sessions isn’t the second coming of Magic. He’s never played a meaningful game in his career. I remember Mo Williams was stuck on those Milwaukee teams putting up big numbers then in Cleveland playoffs he was ordinary.

    This is still a post up team. I hope Mike Brown doesn’t turn this team to PnR or else we’ll see Bynum’s help defense lagging like we did last night. It’s still a significant upgrade over Fisher. Have to see Sessions down the stretch vs a elite team.

    Sessions has to prove he can hit that shot late 4th when Kobe passes to him. That’s when the real test comes.

  65. Midway through March

    Kobe is averaging 42 mins per game. And plays more minutes in losses
    Bynum is averaging 42 mins per game
    Pau is avergaing 38 mins per game

    Not a recipe for success in the long run.

  66. I’m not understanding why anyone is impressed that a 24 year old is quicker than a 37 year old logging the most consecutive games while playing on a team that’s long been in need of a backup pg.

    Could we stop making the comparison of Fisher to Ramon? A 37 year old will never run faster than a 24 year old not now nor never. That’s like putting Michael Jordan in a uniform and being amazed that Kobe can beat him up and down the court. Reveling how much quicker Kobe is getting to the basket and rotating on defense.

    Fisher never took a game off, and he played extended minutes for years because the Lakers had no adequate backup. The same thing is happening to Kobe and use to happen to Pau before Andrew developed this year.

    None of these guards could unseat Fisher, Farmar, Vujacic, Parker, Crittenton and Blake.

    So let’s let his career as the Lakers starting pg die gracefully and with the dignity. The same elements that Derek used throughout his career, regardless the uniform he was wearing.

    Trading Fisher was the best thing for any pg coming to the Lakers. Ramon looks at Blake and knows for a fact that he’s better than Blake. Blake has zero rings just like him. Much more difficult to look over at 0.4, big shot making Fisher and believe that he’s better than Fisher.

    Ramon is given the optimum opportunity to lead the Lakers devoid of playing time excuses.

    Habits die slowly, not only would the team want Fisher in the trenches during a tough game, MB might have been tempted to throw Fisher out there as well in order to get a win. If this were to happen, it would delay Ramon’s development. So, due to these reasons it was best to jettison Fisher out of town.

  67. P. Ami,
    It is such a slap in Ron Artest’s face to compare him to Rick Fox. Rick was a nice pkayers in this league… But wow. That’s an insult. Artest has been an all star in this league as a defensive player of the year. Artest averaged 20 plus points for a season multiple times on several different teams. To this day Artest shuts down elite offensive players at different positions (Durant, Love, Blake, Joe Johnson). I mean of all hyperbole… To compare Rick Fox to Ron Artest… I mean geez. The worst part of Ron’s game is his three point shooting where he averages 35 percent for his career. Rick Fox’s main job was to shoot threes for the Lakers. What was his three point percentage? 35 percent. The same percentage Artest shot the last two seasons for the Lakers. Maybe time is the worlds best make up. We tend to maybe forget older players actual abilities.

  68. Murphy is in danger of losing out to McBob and Hill unless he can start hitting his 3`s again. Brown now has a choice if Murphy remains cold and Sessions needs guys who can keep up with his pace.

  69. P. Ami,
    But everything I completely agree with. This offense is really going to hum with an actual PG. and defensively where do you attack this team now? We are going to be really good. And everyone will really like this Hill kid. He can play. He is a solid back up PF who can shoot the short jumper, defend and rebound. He will play nicely off of Bynum and Gasol. He is what the FO wished Josh McRoberts was.

  70. Yea… I would say Murphy and McRoberts are about to lose all their meaningful playing time even if Murphy can start hitting the three ball. Hill is just flat out better than both of them. Hill can spread the floor enough with his 15 footer.

  71. The two-headed small forward for the Lakers,”Matt-a World Peace”, will have a big say in the team’s success this year. If the combo can be productive offensively and defensively, The Show can go a long way.

  72. Just in case anybody missed it (I think it was mentioned in the game chat thread), it’s pronounced ‘rah-mahn’ Sessions. Not ‘ra-moan’ as in WWF Razor Ramon. So basically the announcers had it right.

    http://www.nba.com/playerfile/ramon_sessions/bio.html

  73. Frank The Tank: Profits aside, you would do one of two things with your cap. You would either spend as much as possible + go for the title, or you would get under the cap + go for FA. The Lakers can’t get under the cap until 14 (almost impossible). So the only thing to do is to go for it. Sortof going for it, while saving salary is not good except if you factor in profits. The TD deals were fine. However we would obviously rather still have Shannon + LO on the roster + we could. Or we could have used the TPE’s. So profits are reducing our chances of a title without helping us get to the cap. True? : )

  74. KennyT: great assessment. All that plus ball movement. Ever since the loss to Washington ball movement has been the key to Lakers success. MWP and Barnes at this point are rhythm players and ball movement helps them. Cohesion and knowledge of the offense has helped as well.

  75. Road Record: The Lakers were already a great team at home before the trades, + now we should be better. Very interested to see if we start performing on the road. In any case, wow would it be a huge thing if we could get the 2 seed. It would be one less round on the road. SA just won @OKC so they are also primed. Should be a good battle. I am also rooting for Chicago to get home court in the East. We also must reduce minutes – we can’t drive all the way to the finish like this.

  76. scottie pimpin March 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Ramon’s nickname is “Top Ramon”

  77. Sessions: For when he takes it to the rack his name can be:

    “Jam Sessions”

  78. Given how much people talk about him, I think we should call him “Ob.”

  79. Spurs just signed Patty Mills. One of the only potential landing sites we could see for Fish likely doesn’t need him.

    Damn. Is it possible Fish is forced to retire?

  80. Off topic on our 3rd acquisition – Christian Eyenga. He is very athletic with lots of potentials in defense. Byron Scott likes him but still a diamond in a rough as SF. I hope he could play in the future in the 2nd unit. Currently, he’s ranked 4th on SF position after Peace, Barnes, Ebanks and then Eyenga. That’s a tall order. He has an interesting story like DJ Mbenga.

    http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2011/12/christian_eyengas_second_seaso.html

  81. Snoopy,
    So you thought Derek Fisher could play for any other team in the NBA the last two years? I’m confused.

  82. On Ramon Sessions, he was not on the Laker radar in ’07 draft pick. We opted for Sun Yue 40th pick and Marc Gasol in the 48th while Ramon came in the late 56th from University of Nevada chosen by the Bucks. A year later, he moved to T’wolves, then traded to Cavs. Well, at that time Lakers got DFish back and JFarmar was the back up PG.

    http://www.nba.com/draft2007/board.html#r2

    See how fortune turns around if you work harder.

  83. Edwin Gueco,
    Ayenga is really a SG. He has the height and frame of a two guard. Just like Jordan Hill is listed as a Center even though is actual height is 6-8 and he is very lean.

  84. 84 – I didn’t say Fisher would play or play well, but I did think there might be a front office willing to sign him for a pro-rated minimum contract. It’s pennies, and for some teams, speech-making and inspiration and leadership might be worth it. Over-the-hill veterans get contracts all the time.

    It’s hard to predict what Fisher will do. The man has a lot of pride and is a warrior. But it’s hard to imagine him not competing for a championship. We’ll find out.

  85. 86,

    Aaron, I would not be qualified to judge on his designated position. Currently, he’s considered SF and will be in D’League and possible to be cut by next year. I hope he will improve his offense in the D’League. He’s a 1st round draft pick tho’ 30th in 2009. Is he an upgrade over Walton or Kapono? Well, he is young, he is athletic and somebody has to put those athleticism into productive NBA career.

  86. Could someone tell me where they are finding Hill listed as 6′ 8″? I have heard that a couple of times here but the combine had him listed as 6′ 10″ with a 7′ 1 1/2″ wingspan. He is also listed as 6′ 10″ on yahoo, espn, nba.com, Dime, and cbs as well as some lesser known sights. Just curious. Thanks.

  87. Aaron you really missed it on your Metta assessment.

    He is shooting 33% from the field
    He is shooting 25% from 3 point
    He is shooting 55% from the line
    He is averaging 3 rebound a game.
    THAT IS THE WORST OFFENSIVE STATS for any starting SF in the NBA and close to the worst for ANY starter in the NBA.

    Yes he can man up big strong players but every quick small forward goes around him.

    Picking out one good steal every 3 or 4 games us the same thing educated Laker fans have done with Fisher the past 2 years.

    Metta is horrible and gets out scored and out rebounded every game. If we had a real SF the Lakers would be 10 point plus better per game.

    I respect your basketball knowledge Aaron but talking about the old Ron has zero to do with the current Metta World Brick. Trust me when I tell you that Lakers tried hard to deal him but NObody wants this guy with his current contract.

  88. Ken: Of course nobody wanted MWP due to his contract. So why didn’t we pick up a SF using the TPE? There was nobody in the league looking to dump salary? We then could have still kept MWP as a defensive stopper only.

  89. Ugh. Blake to start for foreseeable future:
    http://tinyurl.com/86dlw7r

  90. @Dude
    not only was that the PC thing to say, it shelters Ramon from undue criticism and is only right considering our schedule and resulting lack of practice.

    we’ll see what happens though once we get some lull in the schedule or come playoffs when we can prepare for certain opponents.

  91. Artest’s offense stats are ugly mostly due to the system, that leaves him wide open for a 3-point shot, where he’s pretty bad.

    But when he works his basket in the paint, he looks pretty good. I think he should explore this offense skill a bit more.

  92. MWP stats aren’t great his defense has slipped some. He makes players work for everything out there. The fear factor of going up against Ron Artest is still there. Imagine if Barnes was the starter players would have no fear and field days every game. It hurts just to watch ron dribble sometimes he’s not the best option he doesn’t play well consistently but because of game 7 you have to give him a pass.

    I think Blake should start Sessions is like a 6th man a Terry, Crawford, Harden type player. He should play more minutes eventually and I’d rather him finish games if he proves he can shoot. That 6th man role suits him fine. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to take the ball out your best 3 players hands and play PnR with Sessions.

    With Sessions on the bench you can almost assure leads are built or deficits aren’t grown. He brings stability to that unit. Need some IMPACT players on the bench.

  93. In the playoffs teams get 1 day off Lakers are 16-5 in those games with a win margin of 5 points

    Lakers margin of victory as a home team is 10 points. That’s crazy good.

    Lakers give up 39 points in the paint and 50 rebounds per game (11 offensive). That’s a area of concern.

  94. I believe Sessions is better suited coming off the bench. With the starters, we just need someone who will hit open shots and pass the ball to Kobe, Pau, and Bynum. With the backups, we need someone who can break down the defense and get other guys easy baskets.

  95. Watched an interview with Sessions today on Lakers.com and apparently he has a dog and he named it Sesh. hahahaha. Also he said he has never taken a pill in his entire life.

  96. I think everyone is overlooking Christian Eyenga.

  97. Robert -

    Apparently you didn’t read my entire post. For the 3rd time, THE LAKERS TRIED TO ACQUIRE MICHAEL BEASLEY, A SF which wouldve have increased our salary significantly. Minnesota officials backed out, leaving LA officials “puzzled and disappointed.”

    Please get your facts straight before you ask why we didnt attempt to pick up a SF. Because we did. There was nobody else on the market besides Beasley that wouldve been a better fit at this point than MWP.

  98. Michael H/#89:

    Hill measured in at 6’9 1/4″ in his bare feet at the 2005 pre-draft camp, 6’10 1/4″ in shoes. He’s a legit 6’10″ if you ask me.

    http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Jordan-Hill-1222/

  99. Just as long as Sessions is playing at least 32 minutes per game by the end of the season and is finishing the games during crunch time, it won’t really bug me if he doesn’t start.

  100. To those saying Pau was mentally soft or weak and that it was affecting his play on the court, I’m not sure there’s much evidence to confirm or deny.

    Gasol’s statements definitely show he was worried and anxious about a possible move. That’s personal and we have no idea how it affected him professionally. To then make the jump from his statement to say his play was affected is not exactly mathematics. I think change in system and responsibilities have affected his numbers as much as a lack of mental fortitude.

  101. Zephid,
    Sessions is a 25 yearnold stud. He can play 38 minutes a game. We don’t have CP3 and Mo Williams here. We can’t start a PG with a PER below nine. We just can’t afford that. We are trying to win a championship here. Steve Blake has been a back up PG his entire career. He can come off the bench just fine. The Lakers as we have seen the entire season to this date have a problem scoring points. That isn’t a second unit problem only. Ramone can be subbed out before the second quarter starts and be back in to run with the second unit. Only in bizarre situations is it best to start your inferior player. This is not one of those times. The Lakers run a PG heavy offense and we need a true PG in as often as possible, especially with that first unit where Kobe has been known to stop the ball at will. But I agree in a perfect world where Steve Blake was an adequate starting PG it would be nice for Session’s to bring that speed off the bench. But as I type this it’s raining outside in Los Angeles.

  102. Ken,
    If you read you would have seen I was stating facts from his two previous seasons with the Lakers. Those are just the facts. This season isn’t over and he came into camp way out of shape. Since the all star break he has been shooting a lot better and is now in shape.

  103. Aaron,

    I don’t know if I calculated right, but over the last ten games, Peace has a TS% a hair over 42. That said, as you always say, two sides of the ball. And Ron Ron is performing on the other side of the court. For our forced-turnover-anemic defense, his 1.6 steals a game over the last ten has had an impact.

    I think that he’s bound to improve some, but the extent is debatable. If he starts shooting 35% from three (27.5% over last ten), then I’m sure everyone will be happy. He’s definitely looking more mobile and active by the game.

  104. Im not too thrilled about Sessions comming off the bench. You start your best players and I think it will help his confidence and game being a starter and getting familiar with our big 3, so we can make this championship run. I like Blake off the bench with Glock creating shots.

  105. Aaron, re Sessions starting. Exactly. Re MWP, he should come off the bench with Hill to keep the point margin intact while KB24 gets some rest. Re Fish, when ESPN is running stories about you not showing up, it looks unprofessional. Not a good way to end a distinguished career IMO.