It’s not often Ramon Sessions comes across an NBA situation that he can call a first.
He’s been traded four times in his career – five, if you count when the draft pick that would eventually represent him was dealt before he arrived in the league – and he’s played for eight different teams (including two twice) in 10-plus seasons.
However, his plight in his first season since signing with the New York Knicks this season has been puzzling.
Sessions began the season as the starter, playing as the first-team point guard for the first three games. Since, he’s played a combined 9 minutes while appearing in two of the last 12 games.
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“It’s a situation that if you came to me early in the summer and been like, ‘you know, you’ve been inactive for so many games, would you take that role?’ I’d have to be honest with myself and say probably not because I feel like in this league I can still play,” Sessions said Saturday while in town to hold his annual turkey drive in his hometown neighborhood of Racepath. “But it’s a situation that you’re dealt with.
“In my career, my 11th year, it’s a blessing to be on an NBA team, to be on a franchise like the Knicks, one of the historical franchises in the NBA, so it’s one of those things that it’s all part of the job. For me, I’m a professional, I’m going to come in and do what I need to do and be ready to go when my time is called.”
For the season, Sessions, 31, is averaging 5.4 points, 2.8 assists and 2.0 rebounds in just over 17 minutes per contest.
Recently, fellow veteran guard Jarrett Jack has taken over the starting role, and rookie Frank Ntilikina has garnered the rest of the minutes at the point.
The Knicks started the season 0-3, but currently sit at 8-7.
Since his minutes have been reduced, Sessions said he is doing whatever he can to help, including continuing his mentor role with Ntilikina.
“We’ve been playing great basketball, so I can’t hang my head on that because we’ve been playing great,” Sessions said. “It’s just one of those things that you’ve just got to deal with what you deal with and in the meantime just be a professional. If it’s mentoring the young fella or just being there to work in practice or being there ready if there’s three minutes in the game and they call my name, I’ve got to go out there and do what I can do.”
The role of mentoring younger players is something Sessions has done often, including when he was in the prime of his career playing for really young squads.
“It’s been a role that I’m familiar with. Just to see the growth for years down the road [is great],” he said. “I can remember when I was in Cleveland when Kyrie [Irving] and Tristan [Thompson] was a rookie and to see where they’re at now. And Kemba [Walker] when he was young to see where he’s at now, it’s one of those things you can really look back and say ‘man, I remember when those guys were young and didn’t really understand the NBA and now they’re shining. They’re all all-stars or playing to an elite level now.
“It’s one of those things that you definitely look forward to it after it’s gone and you look back and see the growth of the young guys.”
Just a week ago, Sessions’ status in New York was unclear. He was considered by many to be a candidate to be waived to clear a roster spot for Joakim Noah, who returned from a suspension Sunday. However, Mindaugas Kuzminskas was waived and Sessions remains in the Big Apple.
Sessions, who signed for the veteran’s minimum in the summer, said he isn’t fazed by his current situation and believes he still has plenty of gas left in the tank.
“I have years left for sure,” he said. “It’s one of those things that in the NBA you’re dealt with certain situations and the situation now that I’m the third guard, it is what it is. That don’t mean three months from now I won’t be starting or playing in my backup role. Anything could happen in the NBA. You just never know.”
“It’s one of those things that my body, I feel like I’m good to go and I’m ready to play whenever my name is called. … I’ve just got to be ready to go. I know my name will come back around. It always does and just be ready to go.”
Meanwhile, simply playing in New York is something Sessions said he’ll remember for a long time.
“I love New York. I mean, it’s New York,” Sessions said. “What’s funny is when I be in the city I just be looking around sometimes like, ‘man, I came from Racepath, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and just to see the city life and be playing in the [Madison Square] Garden,’ it’s a dream come true.
“I can actually say in my career that I played for the Lakers in the Staples Center, one of the biggest basketball franchises, and now I’m in New York. It’s one of those things that when I’m done playing I’m going to sit back and cherish those moments.”
Just not yet.