Monday, December 19, 2011

The Debate for Rajon Rondo

(Note: There has been a lot of digs at Rondo on this site and elsewhere.  Here is The Boss' take on Rondo and the arguments for his sake.)

Is the grass always greener on the other side?  I say no.  Celtics fans, appreciate what you have with Rajon Rondo.  In case you were living under a rock this past month or so, Rondo has been involved in countless trade rumors.  The trade that had the most momentum was a possible Rondo for Chris Paul switch.  Most everyone I talked to (read: argued with) said that trading Rondo for Paul would be the right choice moving forward.  I’m here to debate that point and to show you why you should appreciate a top 3 point guard when you have one.

Right now, I don’t think there is a debate; Derrick Rose is the best PG in the NBA.  One would argue that Paul was that, even I would say he was before he had a major knee surgery.  Probably one of the most important things a basketball player can have is healthy knees, especially when you are a point guard.  Big guys can get away with this because even after the knee problems, they are still big, a point guard loses all explosiveness and develops a more average game.  So because of that we see a dip in Chris Paul’s numbers.

Let’s get into some numbers.  First, Rondo has improved in literally every year since he has been in the League.  Assists, steals, field goal percentage, points, have drastically improved since his first year and in almost all cases increase each year.  His point total was down last season, but his assist total went up and his total shots went down.  On the other hand, Chris Paul already seems to be on the decline.  He peaked in 2008 and 2009.  His point totals, field goal percentage, and assists have gone down in the past two years.  He went from 22.8 points per game in 2009 to just over 15 points a game last year.  His assist total went down over 1 assist per game.  Is this due to the injury?  Could be, but who is to say he is ever going to get what he had back?

What is the most important thing that you want your point guard to do?  To me, it’s to make everyone else on the court better.  The easiest way to do that is to penetrate and score, penetrate and dish to a cutting big guy or penetrate and kick the ball out to an open shooter.  There is no one better in the game at this than Rondo.  Last year alone, Rondo averaged 4.6 assists a game that led to a dunk or layup.  That is much better than Paul’s 3.1.  That shows his ability to penetrate and dish to a big guy.  Rondo also leads Paul in assists to an open outside shooter, 3.3 to 3.  Paul is known for running a pick and roll/pick and pop offense, so you would think he would have more assists in either of these categories, but he doesn’t.  Rondo also scores more often and more efficiently than Paul at the rim as well.  Rondo scores twice as many points than Paul at the rim while shooting 63% to Paul’s 61%.

Detractors of Rondo will often knock his outside jumper.  While Paul does have a better outside shot than Rondo, 45% to 41% (16-23 feet), Rondo’s shot is far from below average.  People consider Derrick Rose an excellent scorer, even from deep.  However, Rose is only shooting 38% from that same distance.  Paul and Rose also take that shot more often than Rondo because they need to, while Rondo does not.  If Rondo played with the caliber players that Paul played with he would be forced to shoot as much as Paul does, and could put up very similar numbers.  One thing I can’t argue is Rondo’s free throw shooting, which is mediocre.  My one defense would be, Shaq and Dwight Howard both have worse percentages, and however people don’t think any less of them.

I will argue that there are a lot of similarities between the two point guards, starting with their defense.  Both guys have made 3 All-Defensive Teams, however Rondo has been First Team twice and Paul only has been First team once.  Both guys are stubborn and super competitive.  Things have come out about Rondo’s stubbornness; I will argue that is just his competitiveness showing and his passion.  These trade rumors are going to already fuel the huge chip on the shoulder that Rondo has against every elite point guard.  Give me a guy who goes 110% and has extreme passion all the time rather than a guy that coasts of natural ability any day.

My final argument for Rondo would be the success in the playoffs for each.  One stat that speaks for itself is Rondo’s triple doubles, he has 6 career playoff triple doubles.  For a point guard to have 6 is absurd, let alone in the most competitive games of the year.  Rondo has an NBA Championship; Paul has got out of the first round once.  Note that Chris Paul’s Hornets were a 2-seed and lost in the second round.  As a favorite, Rondo has never lost a playoff series, let alone in the second round.  Rondo has been to 2 NBA finals and has led the Celtics to countless playoff wins.  Yes, both players are great but I will take a guy that has a reckless abandon for the game who has improved every year and makes every teammate better over someone with a balky knee and has already reached the peak of his career.  The grass isn’t always greener elsewhere, in fact it’s pretty green in Boston with Rajon Rondo.

-The Boss


Anonymous said...

That and he wears a headband like no one else!

- The Boss' aunt

DD said...

I want to.. I mean.. There is.. I dont know what to say.. I just.. you baffle me..
It leaves me speechless at how you can't just admit that Chris Paul is a better player? But carry on with your badself..

Matt said...

I won't admit it because they are two completely different kinds of point guards. Rondo is the most unique point guard ever, he does things other point guards could never do. Yeah he has weaknesses, but he also has extreme strengths. He is different, but definitely not worse

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