Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Point guard Ramon Sessions calls playing with Knicks ‘a dream come true’
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — Ramon Sessions isn’t sure if he’ll be the starting Knicks point guard on opening night, but he’s thrilled just to be in New York and to have the opportunity.
“It’s a dream come true,” the 31-year-old South Carolina native said Wednesday during training camp. “Growing up in the ’90s, just seeing the Garden and how it was, watching moves as a kid like ‘Eddie’ with Whoopi Goldberg, to actually be in this arena, to be on the homestand is a great feeling. It’s a dream come true.”
Sessions, who averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 assists in 50 games last season in Charlotte, signed a one-year, $2.33 million contract with the Knicks in July after missing time last year because of surgery to repair a torn left lateral meniscus.
Now he appears to be the odds-on favorite to start at point guard ahead of fellow veteran Jarrett Jack, second-year guard Ron Baker and rookie Frank Ntilikina.
“What I really like about our point guards is that they’re constantly talking to each other, they’re helping each other out,” coach Jeff Hornacek said.
“It’s going to be a read or they’ve got to be able to see hey we’ve been down a few times and he hasn’t touched the ball, we’ve got to get him the ball. And call the right things out. I like our guys. I think they’re smart about that.”
Sessions was signed in part to be a mentor to Ntilikina, who will be learning the NBA game after playing professionally in France.
“It’s funny, it’s one of those things, I played with Jonny [Flynn] when he was young and Kyrie [Irving] when he was young,” Sessions said of Ntilikina. “He’s got a lot of Kyrie tendencies a little bit. He’s not the most athletic guy but he can handle the ball in tight spots, can finish around the rim. It’s still early on but he definitely give me that Kyrie feel when Kyrie was a rookie.”
Ntilikina, in turn, likes having Sessions and Jack on the roster to mentor him.
“Very good, very good,” he said. “Allows me to learn a lot quicker. They’ve been in the league like 10 years so that’s like very good for me. Me, as a young player, I’m always here trying to get advice to make the process be as [smooth] as possible.”
As for Sessions, he hopes to show Ntilikina the ropes.
“It’s a situation I’m familiar with in my career, backing up Jonny Flynn as a rookie, having Kemba [Walker] when he was young, having Kyrie when was a rookie,” Sessions said. “With the young fellas, it’s one of those things I’m familiar with, the situation, the rebuilding stage, and having a young guard that’s been drafted high. Maybe I can come in and bring my veteran leadership and just kind of show him the ropes of the NBA.”
Sessions also said he can’t wait to play alongside Kristaps Porzingis, the new face of the franchise.
“He’s a point guard’s dream, 7-2, can catch any kind of pass, can stretch the floor,” Sessions said. “He makes my job easy playing with a guy like KP.”
The Knicks figure to play a more up-tempo offense now that Phil Jackson is gone, and Sessions welcomes that opportunity.
“In my career pushing the pace, the way the NBA is played now this is a point guard league and my strength is pushing the pace and getting into the paint and getting fouled,” he said. “It’s definitely something that I’m comfortable and familiar with.”
Sessions arrived late for voluntary workouts but said he had some personal things to take care of.
“I was here around the 8th or the 9th and then I had some stuff I had to do at my university,” he said. “We were getting in when we could. Now we’re here to start it all off and we’re real excited just to be here for camp.”
As for whether he’ll start on opening night, he welcomes the opportunity.
“The opportunity is there obviously but we got a young fella” on the team,” he said. “Everybody’s new right now. We’re still trying to learn each other, learn the system. That will take care of itself when it gets here.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.