Ramon Sessions was the only Washington Wizard to play in all 82 games this season, but perhaps none were more important for his future than the final five. The Wizards’ backup point guard was promoted to starter to close the season when a sore right knee sidelined John Wall, and Sessions took full advantage of the opportunity.
Sessions averaged 17.6 points and 9.6 assists in 32.1 minutes per game in the starts. He shot 55 percent from the floor and 46.2 percent from three-point range. He posted three double-doubles – his first three since April 2014 – and Washington went 4-1 with him conducting. Now the 30-year-old Sessions, an unrestricted free agent this summer, wants to become a full-time starter.
“In this league everybody wants to be a starter,” Sessions said recently. “For me, my whole career’s kind of been that backup role, which I’ve been fine with. But at the end of the day, I do want to be a starter. I just feel like these last few games, I’m out here to show that. If somebody needs me to start, I can do it.”
Sessions is a prototypical journeyman, nearing the end of his prime years having never held a full-time starting role beyond short stretches. Taken 56th overall in the 2007 draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, he is a score-first point guard who has played for seven teams over nine seasons. He’s never started more than 39 games in a regular season – during the 2008-09 campaign with the Bucks – and has started 15 of his 22 playoff games, including three for the injured Wall last season.
Until the free agent market is set by other signings, it’s unclear how likely Sessions is to leave Washington, where he would obviously remain a backup to Wall. Then there’s Tomas Satoransky’s uncertain status; the 6-foot-7 guard, selected in the 2012 draft, could finally come over from Spain this summer. But Sessions found a niche over the past season-plus after the Wizards flipped an aging Andre Miller to the Sacramento Kings for Sessions at the trade deadline last year. Sessions was the quality, reliable backup that Wall mostly lacked over his first five years in the league.
Sessions’s greatest strength is drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line. In 28 regular season games with the Wizards last season, his free throw rate (number of free throw attempts per field goal attempt) was .563. The number dropped slightly to .478 this season, though he averaged a team-high 6.1 free-throw attempts per 36 minutes.
Players, however, occasionally became frustrated with Sessions’s shoot-first mentality and wanted him to be more of a facilitator for the second unit. Jared Dudley, for example, had his production plummet after he was moved to the bench and began playing most of his minutes with Sessions instead of Wall. Sessions also can be a defensive liability.
Regardless, Sessions will probably get a raise on the $2.17 million he made on the second year of his contract when fresh television money rocks the market this summer. He hopes it comes with a starting role, too.