Ramon Sessions remains cool despite outside heat
Under this much pressure, pipes and ventilation ducts are prone to burst. But Ramon Sessions can’t think about the expectations he’s yet to reach, or else it might do him more harm than good.
“I’ve been doing this for eight years,” Sessions told Cowbell Kingdom last week. “I’m going to continue to do what I do. And the rest of it, it is what it is.”
Sessions’ last point was a reference to Sacramento Kings fans, many who have taken to Twitter and other social media outlets to berate the 28-year-old’s performance in his first year with the club.
Justified or not, the veteran hasn’t done himself any favors, enduring the toughest season of his NBA career. In 27 appearances, Sessions is averaging a career-low 5.7 points, 2.6 assists, and 0.4 steals in 17.1 minutes per game. He’s shooting only 34.2 percent from the floor, 28.6 percent from behind the arc, and spilling a career-worst 3.1 turnovers per 36 minutes, which is problematic enough for a score-first point guard. Sessions has struggled immensely on the defensive end, allowing opposing perimeter players to regularly beat him off the dribble.
Making matters worse, Sessions suffered a back injury for the first time in his life. It caused the 28-year-old to miss 13 straight games beginning after Christmas, and his return since January 21 has required a cautious approach.
“It was a weird thing, and I was just trying to take my time with it, because it was the first time,” Sessions explained. “I didn’t want something to linger on.”
Not yet 100 percent, his long-term health is a top priority considering the physical style he adheres to. At his best, the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder could slice and finish at the rack and stretch the floor with his jumper, but both trademarks have been rarely seen in his stay in Sacramento.
Overall, Sessions’ play this year is a far cry from what the Kings front office envisioned when they signed him to a two-year, $4 million deal on September 22. The point guard had established a reputation as “lightning in a bottle,” capable of scoring in spurts while simultaneously directing an offense with a steady hand. His defense and lateral quickness had always been an issue, but tolerated and overlooked until now.
With every awkward ricochet from his patented floater and blow-by from a quick opponent, critics’ voices continue to grow louder. Piling losses for the Kings don’t help as well.
The discontent is additionally compounded by the presence of another guard, Ray McCallum, who is Sessions’ main competition for the backup point role. McCallum was the 36th pick in the 2013 draft and a stout on-ball defender the Kings have featured on some of the league’s best scorers. While the second-year pro is raw offensively, he is regarded to have a high ceiling as opposed to Sessions, who has likely peaked in his development. Many observers see the veteran’s presence in the rotation as a hindrance to McCallum’s growth.
All in all, the fan base’s frustrations with Sessions are common knowledge to everyone but the struggling guard himself, who wisely avoids an internet presence. Who can blame him for it?
Sessions needs his head clear from distractions so he can focus on strengthening his back and rediscovering his on-court flair. The ball handler isn’t feeling the heat, but he wouldn’t mind getting hot from the floor.