LOS ANGELES LAKERS NOW A LEGITIMATE NBA TITLE THREAT
When the Lakers aquired point guard Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers, they gave themselves a chance to win the NBA Championship. In his first six games with the Lakers, Sessions has made more than half of his two point and three point field goal attempts and more than 83 percent of his free throws. While Sessions salary this year of $4,257,973 is more than 25 percent higher than is Derek Fisher who left the Lakers and ended up with the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the deal that brought Sessions to the Lakers – it seems like money well spent.
Sessions is younger, quicker and at six foot three inches, is two inches taller than is Fisher. While Fisher, who has played for the Lakers in 13 different season, may prove invaluable to the Thunder should they meet the Lakers in the playoffs, Ramon Sessions has been the best guard on the court in his short stint with the Lakers. In fact, in a recent game, it was Kobe Bryant who sat on the bench for five important minutes at crunch time in a Laker win. Rather than being happy with the team’s success, Bryant was obviously miffed at what he took as disrespect from Mike Brown, the Laker coach.
In fact, if the Lakers are going to maximize their potential, Kobe is simply going to have to shoot less. His current field goal percentage of .430 is lower than any of the other five top scorers when it comes to points per game. His three point field goal percentage of .289 is lower than any of those five other scorers including Dwayne Wayne, who recently raised his percentage to .295 after making only six three pointers going into last week. Kobe’s NBA scoring lead is primarily based on being second in the NBA in minutes played and taking far more shots than any other player. If they maintained their current field goal percentages and had taken the same number of shots as has Bryant, LeBron James would only have to make 28 of the 276 additional field goal attempts to match Kobe (10.1 %). Kevin Durant would only have to make 13 out of the 185 additional field goal attempts to match Kobe (7.0 %). It should now be clear that for the Lakers to play their best, Kobe needs to concentrate on forcing less shots and work on the other aspects of his game.
With the arrival of Ramon Sessions, Kobe and the Lakers now have a formidable starting lineup with a skilled point guard in Sessions, a defensive demon in Mehta World Peach and the most formidable front line in the NBA with Paul Gasola and Andrew Bynum. The biggest problem at the moment seems to be Kobe’s unwillingness to take a less dominant role. He really needs to.