The New York Knicks reportedly signed Ramon Sessions to be their veteran point guard. So, what exactly can he do for them?
Adding a veteran point guard was important for the New York Knicks. They wanted someone to mentor their 2017 first-round pick Frank Ntilikina, and that guy is going to be Ramon Sessions.
Shams Charania of The Vertical reported Friday that the Knicks and Sessions agreed on a one-year $2.3 million deal.
The 31-year-old joins Ntilikina and Ron Baker to form arguably the weakest point guard rotation in the Association. The Knicks passed on pursuing high-profile players like Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo in favor of the little-known Sessions.
Sessions won’t bring as much to the table as Rose or Rondo would have, but he should make an excellent mentor. He’s entering his 11th season in the NBA with the Knicks being his eighth different team.
The guy has been around the block. Not only has he played with eight different teams but he’s had two stints with two different teams (Milwaukee and Charlotte). He’s been traded four times, and he’s coming off a knee surgery that ended his 2016-17 season early.
If anyone can teach Ntilikina the hardships of an NBA season, it’s Ramon Sessions. That’s obvious; what isn’t is what this guy can do for the Knicks on the court.
There’s a reason Sessions was still available this late in the free agency period. In addition to knee surgery, Sessions is coming off one of (if not the) worst seasons of his career.
A career 43.9 percent shooter entering the season, Sessions was a putrid 38.0 percent from the field in 2016-17. He averaged career-lows of 6.2 points and 2.6 assists. New York fans shouldn’t expect much from the vet on offense. He’s a lot like Derrick Rose in that three-point shooting has always been one of his greatest weaknesses.
The former Washington Wizard is a career 31.6 percent from downtown, and he only averages one attempt per game for his career. It’s probably a good thing that Sessions shies away from the long ball. When he attempted a career-high 124 threes in 2013-14, he converted at a lowly 28.2 percent clip.
A porous slash line (at best) doesn’t mean that Sessions is completely useless on offense. New York hopes for him to be a pass-first point guard who can make the young guys on the squad better. He’s a stopgap but an important one.
Sessions averaged more assists per 36 minutes than Rose or Baker last season. Let’s examine that further considering Sessions has been a bench player for the majority of his career. In 663 games, he has an average of 6.2 assists per 36 minutes.
The most important part of bringing in Sessions is that he should be good for Kristaps Porzingis. He showed in 2016-17 that he can have a rapport with a stretch big man.
Per NBA.com, 26.2 percent of his passes went to Frank Kaminsky. The former Wisconsin Badger struggled on his threes (33.3 percent on 39 attempts) off passes from Sessions, but that dude isn’t KP. In two seasons, Kaminsky is a 33.1 percent shooter from downtown on 3.6 attempts per game. Porzingis is 34.6 percent on 4.0 attempts.
If the Knicks are lucky, Sessions could play the role properly that Jose Calderon was tasked to and botched horribly. There’d be none of that triangle offense nonsense of course. All the veteran swagger that Calderon was supposed to bring with him to New York never translated. Probably because he stunk up the joint in the two years, he was there.
If the Knicks get their typical bad luck, Sessions could be a more athletic version of Calderon. He may be better in the pick and roll or the fast break but he’s just as horrendous defensively, and he doesn’t have Calderon’s shooting.
The expectations aren’t high for Ramon Sessions, but they shouldn’t be for a guy who signed a veteran’s minimum deal in late July. That guy isn’t going to give the Knicks a ton of on the court production.
What he’s going to do is be a mentor to Frank Ntilikina and hopefully Ron Baker too. The Knicks didn’t make a sexy move like acquire Eric Bledsoe (an enormous long shot anyway), but this is what they wanted. A guy who can be their stopgap in a redshirt year for Ntilikina.
What can Sessions give the Knicks more than anything else? He buys them time.