BREAKING NEWS: Multiple outlets, namely Marcin Gortat, have confirmed that the Wizards and Kings have agreed to a deal to send point guard Andre Miller to the Kings in exchange for point guard Ramon Sessions.
— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) February 19, 2015
— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) February 19, 2015
Let’s take a quick look at the trade, and see what the Wizards are getting, and what they’re losing.
By the numbers:
I’m going to use the Per 36 numbers from their 2014-2015 season, just to give an idea of what each player has been bringing, while on the court. Keep in mind, neither Miller nor Sessions is a guy you want playing 36 minutes per game, unless you’re tanking for Jahlil Okafor. There’s a reason no one outside of Washington and Sacramento will pay much attention to this trade.
Andre Miller, per 36: 10.4 points, 8.2 assists, 2.6 turnovers, 8.1 shot attempts, 54% FG, 0.5 3-pt attempts, 13% 3PT.
Ramon Sessions, per 36: 11.0 points, 5.4 assists, 2.9 turnovers, 10.3 shot attempts, 34% FG, 1.6 3-pt attempts, 21% 3PT.
Not a ton of difference in production, but a HUGE difference in styles. Miller clearly looks to distribute more, and plays within himself, as indicated by his 54% FG and just 0.5 threes attempted per game. He comes in to manage the game. And the Wizards decided they no longer need a game manager off the bench.
Enter Ramon Sessions. Despite shooting just 21% from 3 this season, he shoots them three times as often as Andre Miller. Additionally, his 34% FG, and 10.3 shot attempts per 36 minutes are signs of a guy who plays aggressively, but not efficiently. Miller manages the game. Sessions tries to change the game. The problem is, he doesn’t always succeed. Sessions has played in 36 games this season. He has scored in double figures 8 times.
Beyond the numbers:
This deal is clearly more about styles than about numbers. Andre Miller is a slow-it-down, pass first, game managing point guard. He provides great veteran leadership on and off the court, and is a guy you can count on for pretty much the exact same thing every night. Ramon Sessions is a wild card. He’s an up-tempo, shoot first guard who can score in bursts, and has flashed moments of stardom at various times and places in his career (admittedly, the term stardom is being used loosely).
With this trade, the Wizards are basically saying, we need a spark off the bench, and this is our best available bet. The team is hoping that Sessions can come in and act as a legitimate scoring threat and play maker, and maintain a faster tempo, where the Wizards tend to be at their best. If Sessions is on, his minutes could change games. If he’s off, they just hope it doesn’t cost them games.
#ThrowbackDeadlineThursday Ramon Sessions facializing The King
Additionally, there’s another aspect Sessions gives the Wizards: The ability to play with John Wall. More and more good teams like to have two guys who can be primary ball handlers, yet play side by side, in spurts or to close out games. On good nights, John Wall and Ramon Sessions could play together, like the Hawks with Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder, the Bulls with Derrick Rose and Aaron Brooks, or the Spurs with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli. This also gives the Wizards the option to play lineups featuring a Wall-SessionS back court, with Bradley Beal at the 3, Paul Pierce at the 4, and Nene or Gortat (or Drew Gooden?) at the 5. This small-ball versatility is something the Wizards simply don’t have with Andre Miller.
Will the Wizards do any of that? We’ll see. Do we really want Ramon Sessions potentially playing in crunch time? Again, we’ll see. Right now we’ve got Garrett Temple out there, and we’re drawing up game winning plays intended for Rasual Butler. So yea, maybe we do.
Andre Miller is owed zero million dollars next season by the Wizards. His contract expires at the end of this season. Ramon Sessions is on the books for 2.2 million dollars. That’s not a HUGE deal, but money is money, and cap space is cap space. So clearly, the Wizards are making this move for THIS season. Management and staff have made the decision that the Wizards are close to competing for the Eastern Conference Finals, and they believe that Sessions could provide just enough of an an upgrade and spark off the bench to make them a legitimate threat to win the wide-open East. Clearly, they believe this wasn’t possible with Andre Miller, and that this trade was valuable enough this year to make a small financial sacrifice next year.
Also, Miller is 38. Sessions is 28. IF Sessions fits in perfectly, and turns out to be a legitimate piece for the Wizards, he’s young enough to keep around for a while. If not, well, Sessions will now have played for seven teams in seven years. Apparently, there is always a market for Ramon Sessions, and there’s 23 other teams who have yet to have the Ramon Sessions experience. So moving on from him shouldn’t be a problem.
Beyond the Wizards:
By going to Sacramento, Andre Miller is being reunited with Coach George Karl, who LOVES Andre Miller. In Karl’s introductory press conference, he talked about his teams youth. He talked about the need for his young guys like Boogie Cousins and Ben McLemore to learn the process and preparation of winning. He talked about his goal of changing the culture of Sacramento to a winning culture. Two days later, the Kings acquired Andre Miller. That’s not a coincidence. I’m happy for Andre. He’s going somewhere he knows he will be loved and appreciated, whether he’s getting minutes or not.
Strictly from an X’s and O’s standpoint, the trade makes sense. The Wizards are lacking that burst of energy, intensity, aggressiveness, and versatility off the bench that so many good teams have and bad teams covet. Miller provided a predictable and steadying force that was comfortable, but not really impactful. Sessions does have the ability, when he’s playing his A game, to make a legitimate, meaningful impact on games.
However, outside the X’s and O’s, the Wizards will miss Andre Miller. Having him on the bench felt good. Having him in the locker room felt good. Knowing he’d never negatively affect team chemistry felt good. Even when he wan’t playing, it was nice having him around. He was a veteran leader, and a steadying emotional force. Someone is going to have to fill that role. Ideally, it will be John Wall.
The Wizards needed someone who could make a greater impact on the floor. The Kings needed someone who could make a greater impact off the floor. Ultimately, that’s why this trade was made.
Good luck, Professor! We’ll miss you!
Here are some closing memories of The Professor’s short-lived tenure in DC.