This post is an addendum of sorts to the five-part series on the state of each position on the Cavaliers' roster for the upcoming 2011-2012 season.... if it happens...... please let it happen. Anyways, since Conrad discussed the state of the point guard position earlier today, I am going to be discussing in a little more depth the problem that we face with the mini logjam at the position, specifically in regards to Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions. Before I dive in however, let me say that, with this being my first time writing for Fear The Sword, please like what I write or I will cry myself to sleep tonight. On that note, let's begin!
So, Davis or Sessions? Who do you pick to be your back-up point guard for the immediate future? Both have their ups and downs, but each brings something different to the table. Let's take a look at what each brings to the table and what kind of impact each will foreseeably have on the team in the next couple of years.
Davis brings a strong veteran presence to the team, and despite what most people will say about what kind of impact Davis can have in the locker-room, what he showed last year is that he is willing to help bring our young players along and give them an opportunity to shine on the floor by distributing the ball and in the locker-room by boosting their confidence and trying not to be a distraction. I, for one, greatly appreciate the effort Davis put in last year with this team, especially since he lacked any motivation whatsoever to do what he did last year, which was essentially a revival of his career after a couple poor seasons in LA with the Clippers where he was unmotivated and out of shape for the majority of his tenure.
The question when considering Davis for our back-up point guard for the immediate future is, "Can he continue on his success from last year?" Frankly, I don't know the answer to that question. Since no-one can really say what the cause for his turnaround last year was, who can say whether it will continue into next year at all? Will he be happy as the back-up to Kyrie Irving, or will he feel that his play last year warranted a reward in the form of being starter for this year? I personally would love to think that Baron can see that drafting Kyrie at number one overall would spell the end of his starting days, however brief they were, in Cleveland. I would hope that Davis would see this as a fact of life, and still be motivated to stay in shape and provide whatever kind of mentoring and support for Kyrie and the rest of the Cavaliers' young players. At the same time however, he had a chance last year to play with one of the most exciting young players to come through the league in years in Blake Griffin, and yet he couldn't stay in shape to even be on the court with him for much of the season.
Who can say what motivates him at this point? Maybe he really has entered that phase of his career where he realizes he's not the alpha-dog on his team and that his best use is as a mentor and an excellent back-up option. If so, then we can all be very happy for the next two years with him as a mentor for Kyrie Irving. If he decides he can continue the success of last year by trying to take control of the team and return to his glory days with the Hornets and Warriors, then we may have a problem. A big problem. I personally suspect that Davis is a smart enough person to figure it out and decide that being a mentor to Kyrie and a good team player is the best path to take, and I would be happy to have him for the remainder of his contract. Not that we have much a choice to be honest, as I'm pretty sure close to no-one will want to take that contract on, despite his noted improvement last year.
Oh Razor Ramon. How you tantalize us with your potential by making spectacular finishes at the rim and taking over a game for stretches, and then disappear for the next 3 games altogether. Honestly, I like Sessions. He has some nice tools, such as his ability to finish at the rim, and he proved he can distribute the ball at a decent rate last year. But at the same time, he did disappear at times, and he needs the ball in his hands to be at all of use to the offense. He isn't going to be a defensive stopper -- far from it -- and he's only an okay shooter from distance. The most frustrating aspect of his game is his tendency to drive into the paint with no idea where he is headed next, which could end up in a nice find on a jump pass, but more than likely will end up in a kick out to a guarded perimeter player, or a turnover.
One other thing to consider with Sessions last year is that, with his improved numbers and a pretty good PER of 19, he garnered most of his numbers during a stretch in which the Cavaliers put on a display of some of the most pitiful basketball ever seen in a professional league. Now, I know it's not fair to put the blame for that stretch on Sessions, but he does deserve some of it. Despite his decent 35 AST%, he's not a particularly gifted passer, not so much as Davis is.
Despite all of his flaws, I think Sessions can be a good player in this league, but I'm not particularly sure he'll ever contribute to a contender in any major way. He could prove me wrong, but Sessions' style of play is derived from having the ball in his hands and making plays, and he's not good enough at it to warrant the amount of possessions he needs to be effective when there are better players on the team than J.J. Hickson and the corpse of Antawn Jamison. Sorry JJ and Antawn, but it's just true. I see Sessions as a serviceable back-up on a fringe playoff team, and maybe the same role on a contender, if he can improve his jumper and learn to not jump-pass so much.
I personally wouldn't recommend keeping him over Baron Davis, both because Davis provides a veteran presence that Sessions can't match, however tenuous we are in giving Davis that distinction, and also Davis fits the mold of a back-up point guard better in my mind than Sessions does. Also, I like Davis' ability to come in and play shooting guard with Irving on the floor, which Sessions isn't capable of. Regardless of how I think of him, Sessions has some decent value right now, because of his play last year and his reasonable contract. I think that Chris Grant could conceivably get either a late first-rounder, or a player similar to Omri Casspi's level (a young player in a poor situation who has potential) to fill a position of need. In order to get the most value out of trading Sessions, he would have to be dealt before the season starts, because realistically he won't get very much playing time, unless Byron Scott decides to play Davis at the shooting guard much more than anyone could expect. It's only logical to assume that Sessions won't be able to sustain his current value very long into the upcoming season, whenever that is.
So, my expert opinion is that we keep Davis, hope that he pans out as a mentor and effective back-up, and trade Sessions at the height of his value to get a player at a position of need, most likely a shooting guard, small forward, or center, or a late first-round draft pick, hopefully for this upcoming draft, since it will be relatively stacked. But hey, maybe you think Sessions is the next Chauncey Billups and think Davis is a no-goodnik lowlife who was an aberration last season. If you do, or if you have a different more reasonable opinion, leave a comment below and let us know what you think the Cavaliers should do with their two back-up point guards.