After adding Luke Ridnour and Damon Jones (and Adrian Griffin) and losing Mo Williams (and Desmond Mason) in the recent trade, the Bucks have five players capable of running the point: Ridnour, Jones, Ramon Sessions, Charlie Bell, and Tyronn Lue.
While the Bucks are long on quantity at the one, quality is more of a question mark, though all five possess positive attributes.
Ridnour capably started all 82 games on a division-winning Sonic team in 2004-05. The same year, Jones hit 43.2 % from outside for the Heat, and the year before that he brought stability and to the Bucks' backcourt. In limited time last year, Sessions was one of the brightest rookies, and a wonderful distributor who averaged 7.5 assists in only 26.4 minutes. Bell plays defense and brings size at the one. Lue is an instant-offense type who nailed 45.3 % of his three-pointers last season.
Then again, the quintet totaled 23 starts last season. That's an average of 4.6 out of 82.
Lue is a career backup and Jones isn't starting material at this stage in his career either. Bell fits in more naturally as a backup shooting guard.
That leaves Ridnour and Sessions, both of whom can push, dribble, and pass the ball quite well. Their shooting and defensive abilities are questioned.
Sessions and Ridnour also went a combined 1-11 starting at point guard last season, with Ridnour getting the lone victory on March 24 against the Blazers.
That's not terribly inspiring, but basketball is a team game, and Ridnour and Sessions are team players. Not only that, the 2008-09 Bucks hardly resemble the clubs Sessions and Ridnour played on last season.
John Hammond, for one, is comfortable with the point guard situation.
"I think we have a good combination to make ourselves very good at the point guard position," Hammond said. "You’ve got Luke, who is in the prime of his career at 27 years old. You’ve got the veteran backup in Ty Lue, who has been in almost every situation possible. He’s always been a great teammate, and he’s going to be supportive of Luke and Ramon.
"And with Ramon we have a good young piece who has value in this league and a piece we want to keep here long term."
Neither Ridnour nor Sessions will have an easy time matching Mo Williams' overall production. Below is last season's stat comparison between the point guard Hammond recently dealt away and his old point guard favorite in Detroit.
|Name||Points||Rebounds||Assists||Steals||Blocks||FG %||FT %||3PT %|
Of course, Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson, Andrew Bogut and everyone else in green and red will benefit from replacing Williams with the more giving Ridnour and Sessions. And that's really the key going forward for the Bucks.
As an NBA veteran of five years rather than five weeks, Ridnour might have the starting edge over Sessions. But like we've witnessed on Team USA at point guard this summer, the better players will rightfully play more minutes.
I'm optimistic that Ridnour will work well with his new teammates, but we already know Sessions does. That's one chief reason why I'd like to see Sessions start the opener on Oct. 28 against the Bulls.
What say you?