Sessions finally gets opportunity to shine, but what took so long?

In terms of the basketball world, nothing shines brighter and is more visible than a player dressed in purple and gold.

Ramon Sessions will get a chance to wear one of those luminous purple and gold jerseys after the Lakers completed a deal to acquire the young point guard from Cleveland in a swap for Luke Walton, Jason Kapono and a 1st round draft pick prior to the trading deadline yesterday.

Many Lakers fans haven’t had a chance to see Ramon play before but because of his name being mentioned in numerous trade rumors over the last few months many have heard of his name.

How is it that a point guard as skilled and highly regarded in NBA circles as Ramon Sessions get so far under the radar that a team that was desperately in need of help at the point guard position was able to acquire him for 2 bench players and a late 1st round draft pick?

How is it that so many Lakers fans know so little of him?

The answer is that he just hasn’t had the right opportunity to showcase his skills.

Until now Ramon has never played in a big market or with a team that garnered much national attention. Even in his college days he played forUniversityofNevadawhich got very little notoriety nationally. If any attention was given to the program during his time there it was likely focused on Nick Fazekas who was considered to be the NBA prospect.

Ramon almost didn’t get drafted back in 2007 but Milwaukeetook him with the 56th pick in the 2nd round, just 4 short of the 60 that are drafted. The 4 players drafted after are all out of the NBA today.

Ramon was able to make the Bucks roster that year but saw very little playing time behind starter Mo Williams and back up Royal Ivey. Ramon only appeared in 17 games in his rookie season with the Bucks but all of them were towards the end of the season. This is where Ramon began showing flashes of his potential. In the final 4 games of the season he averaged 16 points, 16 assist and shot 56% from the field. This includes a remarkable game against the Bulls in April where he scored 20 points and a jaw dropping 24 assist.

The following season (2008-2009) with the Bucks Ramon won a position in the rotation backing up newly acquired Luke Ridnour at the point. Ramon starts the season off strong which earns him the bulk of the minutes at the point despite coming in off the bench. In the month of November Ramon averages almost 16 points and 6 assist per game. He has his best month in February where he averages 18 points and a little more than 7 assist per game. Ramon finishes the season as the starting point guard for the Bucks and with his emergence he enters the off season as an attractive free agent.

Ramon signs a 4 year deal free agent deal with Minnesotain 2009 and this is where he experiences a slight set back in his career. He plays in 81 games but his time is limited due to having to play behind Minnesota’s 2009 6th overall draft pick Jonny Flynn. In this same draft Minnesota took another point guard by the name of Ricky Rubio with the 5th overall pick. With the abundance of point guards onMinnesota’s roster their next move was inevitable. On July 26, 2010 Ramon is traded toCleveland for Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West.

In Cleveland, Ramon still has to play a back up role and for the 2nd time in his career to Mo Williams. Ramon plays great in a back up role to Mo and as a spot starter when Mo was out with injury. Starting 9 of the 11 games in February in 2010-11 season, Ramon has his best month where he averages 20 points and almost 9 assist per game while shooting 56 percent from the field. Ramon has a good overall season despite being in and out of the starting line up and a disaster of a season with Cleveland who won just 19 games which was good for dead last in the Eastern Conference.

Ramon once again is denied an opportunity for a clear cut starting role with the Cavs as they took Kyrie Irving with the 1st overall pick in the 2011 draft. Kyrie is everything he was touted for by the scouts and the media, possibly even exceeded all expectations. With Kyrie’s stellar play and star potential the writing on the wall was pretty clear for Ramon, he had become expendable.

In a move that had been rumored for months finally was made official yesterday when the Cavs moved Ramon to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ramon will walk into the Lakers locker room either today or Sunday and he might be taken back by the sight of something that he is just not familiar with, talent. After playing with the likes of JJ Hickson, Anthony Parker, Darko Millicic, Corey Brewer and Charlie Villanueva he’ll be greeted by 5 time NBA champion and 14 time all star Kobe Bryant.

Ramon has played with decent post men in his career such as Andrew Bogut and Al Jefferson, but that won’t compare to what he will have in L.A.with the 2 highly skilled big men in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum who are arguably two of the best at their respective positions.

Ramon is finally walking into an environment and culture that doesn’t just value winning but actually wins. In Ramon’s 5 year career the teams he has played for have gone 110 and 259 which figures to a .298 winning percentage. In Ramon’s career his team has never finished higher than the 21st best record in the NBA or 12th in the conference. Twice his team has finished 2nd to last in the NBA (2009-10 withMinnesota and 2010-11 withCleveland). In Ramon’s career he has not gotten a sniff of post season play.

In contrast, in that same span the Lakers have gone 263 and 108 with a .708 winning percentage. The Lakers have been to 3 NBA finals appearances and won 2 championships.

After taking a walk through Ramon’s career you can see why he has gone practically unnoticed by so many for so long.

One bad team after another.

One small market after a smaller one.

One lost opportunity for a starting job after another.

The series of unfortunate events stops in Los Angeleswhere the stage is set for him to shine. Ramon will finally get his shot to become a household name; just remember that you pronounce it correctly. It’s pronounced Rah-mahn, not Rah-mone or Ray-mun. Except I’m certain after a few months of people of watching this kid play most won’t have any problem remembering his name or how to say it.

– Fern Rea “@fullcourtfern”