Ramon Sessions ended the season with the franchise that gave him his first NBA opportunity.
It’s fitting that Ramon Sessions ended the season as a Milwaukee Buck. The Bucks’ worst season in franchise history coincided with Sessions’ seventh losing campaign – one for each yesr he’s played in the NBA.
A second-round pick by Milwaukee in 2007, Sessions endured two dismal years (25-56 in 2008; 34-48 in 2009) in Wisconsin before a forgettable stint in Minnesota (15-67) followed by a cameo for a 19-62 Cleveland team the next season. He split time between the Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers in 2011-12, lucking into a playoff run that ended with the Oklahoma City Thunder making quick work of L.A. in a five-game second-round series. Sessions’ combined record between his two clubs that season, though, was 30-34 and surely would have been uglier had the lockout not lopped off some of his time on a wallowing Cavs squad.
More recently, the South Carolina-bred point guard played closer to his roots with the sputtering-but-developing Charlotte Bobcats, crossing the finish line with 21 wins in 2012-13. Things looked up for Sessions when the franchise acquired and centered its system around big man Al Jefferson and when (against all odds) forward Josh McRoberts became an offensive spark plug. But with the Bobcats hovering around .500 at 25-30 and seeking a playoff spot in a competition-deprived Eastern Conference, Charlotte dealt Sessions, along with Jeff Adrien, to the Bucks in return for Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour. The Bobcats proceeded to go 18-9 and grab the East’s No. 7 seed, while the Bucks held course on their then-10-44 record, ending the season on a 5-23 trudge. In games with Sessions on a roster in 2013-14, his teams went 30-52.
This is a long way of saying that a player with Sessions’ luck — or karma, or destiny — was meant to be on this Milwaukee team instead of in the postseason. Can Sessions really be blamed if he spends his summer sitting in a dark room, listening to sad-sack music and inserting made-up words like Sadderday into the lyrics? (Although any day would work, considering the Bucks’ losses span across all days of the week.) No, adamantly. Not at all. However, it probably wouldn’t help his stock entering free agency.
Good: He brought veteran guard leadership. Brandon Knight and Nate Wolters are at different developmental stages of their respective NBA careers, but neither are overly polished at this point. Sessions, for all his career woes, offered some much-needed late-season stability in the back court. Playing 58 percent of his Milwaukee floor time at the shooting guard position, as opposed to 42 percent at point guard, according to Basketball-Reference, the less experienced guards could take comfort in the knowledge that they were sharing the court with another shot creator, particularly one with much more experience than themselves.
Better: After being outcast from Charlotte, Sessions played the best basketball of his — and the Bucks’ — season. There clearly aren’t any ringzzz to count, but check the numbers, with Sessions’ pre-trade stats in parentheses: 15.8 points per game (10.5); 2.4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (2.17-to-1); 58.5 true shooting percentage (50.9); 18.0 Player Efficiency Rating (14.6); .121 Win Shares per 48 Minutes (0.075). Coincidentally, that last figure is tied for the best WS/48 by any Buck, with Adrien sharing a piece of first place.
Best: Sessions acted as a bandage during an injury-riddled season, gave the team what life he could and rid the Bucks of Milwaukee’s resident malcontent, Gary Neal. With Neal and Ridnour leaving, the Bucks shed more salary cap than they acquired by bringing in Sessions and Adrien, both expiring deals. This also allows Milwaukee more immediate financial flexibility, as Adrien joins Sessions in free agency whereas Neal, who signed a two-year deal with the Bucks last summer, will account for a $3.25 million hit against the Bobcats’ salary cap next season.
Not-So-Good: On April 11, with any chance of a winning season or a playoff berth out of reach, Sessions scored 20 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers, helping the Bucks net a rare win, 119-116. He was Milwaukee’s second-highest scorer behind Brandon Knight (24 points). “Not good enough,” said the powers at NBA.com, who left him out of the game’s highlight package.
Let’s Just Not Mention It: Sessions averaged 19.9 points, 5.8 assists and shot 50 percent or better in each of the five Milwaukee wins in which he played. Not too shabby by any means, with one exception — Sessions helped win five games. The cardinal sin. Losses equal lottery balls when it comes to the draft.
In Summation: In his abbreviated stint with the Bucks, Sessions was one of the team’s most productive and consistent players. While his efforts may have worked against Milwaukee’s true aspirations (or at least those of fans), he finished the season strongly enough to warrant some interest on the free agent market this summer. He expressed interest in returning to Milwaukee, thought it remains to be seen whether that interest is mutual. Ramon gets a B - both for “bravo” and “boo.”