HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Everyone seems to be moving on quite nicely.
Derek Fisher is in Oklahoma City and is already embracing his role there as elder statesmen and veteran leader. Ramon Sessions is quickly earning his stripes as the Lakers’ newest point guard addition, even earning the early Kobe Bryant Seal of Approval after his work in the Lakers’ win over the Mavericks last night.
And at the end of the day, after all of the drama that accompanied the trade that sent Fisher to Houston and ultimately to free agency and the Thunder, and the other trade that brought Sessions from Cleveland to the Los Angeles, it really is about getting Kobe’s seal of approval, isn’t it?
Sure, Sessions still has some work to do in order to get completely comfortable in his role with the Lakers. And we’re still not sure how this works — Steve Blake is the starter but Sessions is the Lakers’ point guard with the game on the line … ?
But when you hear Bryant speak about his point guard the way he did about Sessions last night, to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, you know something good is cooking:
“We just let him handle the ball,” Bryant said of Sessions. “You saw me off the ball a lot, more than probably you’ve ever seen me. As a result, my night was a lot easier. I really didn’t have to work. I had, what, 30 points? I didn’t have to work for any of it because he’s doing all the penetrating and I was getting great screens.”
Sessions finished with 17 points, nine assists and five rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench and was even more accurate than Bryant, shooting 7-for-8.
“He definitely takes pressure off of me,” Sessions said of Bryant. “He lets me do what I do: be aggressive.”
… “I’ve been extremely impressed,” Bryant said. “He takes a lot of pressure off of me. I can be a legitimate 2-guard now. Know what I mean? He can play-make for others. Before, I had to score and play-make for others, as well. I don’t have to do that. I can be on the receiving end of those plays.”
Sessions referred to Bryant as “Kob,” which is another sign that the two of them are quickly developing a rapport that could have a solid and lasting impact for the Lakers down the road, this season and beyond.
Bryant torched the Mavericks for 30 points, shooting 11-for-18 from the field. It’s his first game shooting 50 percent or better in his last 11 games. Sessions was spectacular, finishing his night with 17 points, nine assists and five rebounds in just 29 minutes.
That’s a sweet line for a guy who is admittedly still trying to figure it all out, on and off the court, in his new environment. Sessions said as much to Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News:
“I’m definitely not up to speed yet,” Sessions said. “I’m not comfortable like I would like to be just because I don’t know exactly where everybody is supposed to be out on the floor. I’m starting to know more plays for myself as where I’m supposed to go.
If this is Sessions when he’s not even up to speed yet, the Lakers might very well have snagged the prize of the trade deadline!