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Does Ramon Sessions make the Lakers second best in West?

Mar 22, 2012, 2:36 PM EDT

Ramon Sessions Getty Images

Since the day the lockout ended, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been the team to beat in the Western Conference. And while we can pick apart the Thunder’s flaws — they have gotten pushed around in the paint of late — their status as the top dog has never been in question.

But who is the second best team in the West?

It looked like maybe the Clippers for a while, but their offense has faded and their defense (and coaching?) exposed. Look at the standings and they say it’s the Spurs, and certainly they have been good this season, but the question remains if they have fixed their flaws from last playoffs — if they run into the Grizzlies or Lakers, two teams that get a lot of offense from bigs in the paint, can the Spurs really stop them?

Then there are the Lakers. At moments (particularly at home) they looked the part, then they go out and lose to Washington and Detroit and most recently a Rockets team missing its starting backcourt. It’s been hard to take them seriously because of consistency and play on the road.

But does Ramon Sessions change that?

Maybe. The Lakers defense has been solid all season, and in spots quite good. But their offense has been pedestrian — 16th in the NBA at 101.5 points per 100 possessions so far this season (via Hoopdata).

However, if you watched the Lakers the last few days when Sessions was on the floor, you could just tell things flowed better. His quickness and passing skills suddenly make Mike Brown’s offense work. In a fantastic post at Sports Illustrated Zach Lowe has the numbers.

But in the 100 minutes Sessions has played, the Lakers have scored 114 points per 100 possessions, a mark that would lead the league by a mile, according to NBA.com’s stats tool. The Lakers have been more efficient in just about every way possible during those 100 minutes…

They have shot many more threes per minute with Sessions on the floor and made them at a very high rate. This is a great thing for a team that has been one of the two or three worst three-point-shooting teams all season… The Lakers have attempted the equivalent of 20 threes per 48 minutes with Sessions manning the point, and they have hit 48 percent of them. In the 92 minutes Sessions has sat during those four games, the Lakers are still the Lakers, clanking away to the tune of 25 percent from deep on just 14.6 tries.

Yes, all these numbers are some Small Sample Size Theater. Yes, they’ve come against some pretty blah defenses for the most part. This is not how things are going to look exactly in five weeks when the playoffs start.

But soon Sessions will be getting the bulk of the minutes at the point for the Lakers and if he can raise the Lakers offense up to just good, they become the biggest threat to the Thunder in the West. And then we can all overanalyze how much of a role Derek Fisher would play in a playoff series between the two sides.

  1. 00maltliquor - Mar 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    YES. Hands down.

    • loungefly74 - Mar 22, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      i agree as well. the lakers are clearly better than the Clip-show…the Spurs? well, like the article said, we present match-up problems to them…and there is nobody else, so yeah, Laker’s #2 right now.

      as far as Sessions…man, i am loving it. the kid can play.

  2. letangusespertplus - Mar 22, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    sample size.

    • bozosforall - Mar 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

      Like the bulge in the pants of Celtics fans…TINY.

  3. kinggw - Mar 22, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    The Jazz and Rockets say they arent impressed with the acquisition of Sessions by the Lakers.

    • tsi431 - Mar 22, 2012 at 4:23 PM

      Since Session’s has had only one practice with the team, I think I will take what he has given them so far. He admittedly said he is still just started learning the teams “playbook”.

  4. jcota1 - Mar 22, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Sessions was worth the wait for us real Lake-Show fans. He’s tough, quick, and flat out can play basketball. A very welcomed edition to LA!!!

  5. seattlesuperchronic - Mar 22, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    I hope he makes the Lakers better, the playoffs wouldn’t be the same without the Lakers being a threat. If Sessions does work out as well he’s started, that was a brilliant trade. Sorry Derek Fisher, they need more than you can give.

  6. passerby23 - Mar 22, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Give them time, but if he gels nicely, they are going to be tough to beat. I still like the Thunder if they put it together. Tough to see them losing at home too.

  7. atc21 - Mar 22, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    I’ll miss fish, but like what I see from session.

  8. atc21 - Mar 22, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Hate seeing Fish go, I think Session’s gives lakers best chance to win.

  9. sellahh - Mar 22, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    God I hate this kind of articles. Not even picking on you Kurt like we all like to, just hate this kind of articles from the media. Understandably though, you have to fill those sites with something. But I hate the kind of discussions that follow those kind of articles. I mean… who cares if the Lakers are second best in West, seriously… and I am a Laker fan. How many of you had Dallas as the .chompionchip. team last year? Exactly. What does it matter if Sessions make them second best in West? Does it mean they can’t win the championship because they’re only the second best team in the West? I’d love to say the Lakers looked all better after adding Sessions. But they’ve been haunted by the very same ghosts that haunted them before and that is lack of focus at certain times (as in the Houston game). And I don’t give a flying **** how the Lakers look at the time being. What matters is the playoffs… and seriously discussing who’s the best, who’s the second best so on and so forth is, in my opinion, not only pointless but just Dumb with a capital ‘D’.

    • sweetnlow44 - Mar 22, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      “This” comment is ridiculous.

      • sellahh - Mar 22, 2012 at 7:14 PM

        None offence taken, you’re too simple to insult me sir. Feel free to enjoy your pointless discussions about who’s the second best team in the West halfway thru the regular season.
        Also, why ‘this’? What’s the point to put this in quote? What kind of tremendously mysterious thought were you trying to push here? I am amused.

    • loungefly74 - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:46 AM

      i think i see your point Sellahh. and youre right that media needs to fill the headlines. but what is great about this (and all other articles) is it generates talk/debate. its great that with a few clicks of the button, anybody can put in their 2 cents. what one person may find pointless…another person may see it as an opportunity to say something they would like to share.

      as far as this article, i like the optimism it brings for laker fans (such as me). it brings up the point of how the lakers feel re-energized with sessions at the 1…hence, moving them up the “power rankings in the west”.

  10. tampajoey - Mar 22, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Sessions can play! I’m glad he got a chance to play for a contender. Now LA needs to put him in the starting lineup and get him ready for the playoffs.

  11. abchome - Mar 22, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Sessions = Lakers savior… lol!

  12. lakerluver - Mar 22, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    2nd best?! Yea, we shall see!! How about BEST IN THE WEST?!!

  13. lakerluver - Mar 22, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    OKC is a great young team but they rely too much on jump shots. Playoffs are half court and the LAKERS are the better team in that regard.

  14. savvybynature - Mar 22, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Yes, please continue writing off the team w the most collective hardware in the league. They are too old and have matchup problems. Don’t even worry about them.
    Mike Brown will coach circles around Pop and the rest. Bynum finally “figured it out.” Pau is no longer butt hurt about everything. Metta World Peace will go back to being Ron Artest once the playoffs start. Kobe is a black mamba, whatever that means.
    Haha. Kurt, the rest, you guys are funny. See you in the playoffs.

  15. redstar504 - Mar 22, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    He could be the real deal that makes them a serious force in the west or he could simply be the Jeremy Lin of the west coast.

    Let’s give it a little more time.

  16. grimreeper - Mar 25, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Hell no I hate the Lakers! Hope they lose every game that they play! Piece my bad I mean world piece!!! Lmao

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