ESPN’s ‘NBA Rank’ turned out okay. Except that it appears NBA experts view point guards entirely differently than I do.
If you follow ESPN.com, you know that for the second year in the row, 104 experts ranked every NBA player on a scale of 1-10 based on their current overall quality. Then the players are ranked based on their average score. The top ten are as follows:
1. LeBron James
2. Kevin Durant
3. Dwight Howard
4. Chris Paul
5. Derrick Rose
6. Kobe Bryant
7. Kevin Love
8. Dwyane Wade
9. Russell Westbrook
10. Deron Williams
I have one major problem with this list: there are four point guards in the top ten, and none of them are named Rajon Rondo. That’s lunacy. It’s asinine, asiten, asieleven, asizillion. Rajon Rondo came in at number 12, behind Dirk Nowitzki.
I would contend that Rondo is the second-best point guard in the NBA. Chris Paul is the undisputed best point guard in the NBA, and I hope no one would try to make a claim that it is anyone other than him. Besides the injustice to Rondo, Deron Williams should be higher than both Westbrook and Rose.
What Rondo and Williams have over Rose and Westbrook is the fact that they are true point guards. Deron Williams has become more of a scorer in recent years, but he still works to run his team and distribute the ball. The same goes for Rondo. He is an underrated scorer, but his strength is his ability to assist his teammates. Look at these stat lines from last season.
Rondo- 11.9 PPG, 11.7 APG, 4.9 RbPG, 44.8 FG%
Williams- 21.0 PPG, 8.7 APG, 3.3 RbPG, 40.7 FG%
Rose- 21.8 PPG, 7.9 APG, 3.4 RbPG, 43.5 FG%
Westbrook- 23.6 PPG, 5.5 APG, 3.6 RbPG, 45.7 FG%
It looks obvious to me that Rose and Westbrook have the best stats, and in a vacuum I would say they are better players. In fact, if you told me that Westbrook was a 6-6 shooting guard with those numbers, I’d say he must be close to a top-5 player in the league. The problem is that Rose and Westbrook are not shooting guards; they are point guards. Yes, they are ballers, and they are tremendous scorers and basketball players. However, their function on the court is to run the offense and contribute to wins by making their teammates better. It’s what point guards are for. Williams scores and makes his teammates better, playing a true point guard role. Westbrook can win the game for you, but he could win even more games if passed a little more to his teammate, Kevin Durant. Derrick Rose is a great scorer, but he’s not great enough to carry a team that way. He needs to be able to facilitate an offense, and take his scoring opportunities when they present themselves.
Rondo has something that none of these guys have: a ring. A ring that he won in his rookie season. He returned to the Finals two years later, this time as a key element rather than the guy who just “didn’t mess things up” in 2008. It was apparent this year in the playoffs that the aging Celtics can still ball, but Rajon Rondo is the player that fuels that team and makes them contenders. In the right game, he can score 40, but he would rather drop a triple-double (he has nine career playoff triple doubles, the other three have one combined). Defense is difficult to quantitatively measure, but he also was number one last year among point guards for defensive win shares and defensive rating.
In today’s NBA, the scoring point guard is in. Kyrie Irving won ROY and may continue this trend, while Damian Lilliard could be the next one to shine. True, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose can put up amazing numbers, and I would never question their basketball ability. However, they are both like centers who score but don’t rebound. They don’t function in the way that NBA point guards should. Rajon Rondo plays the point like it is meant to played, and in a way that is only surpassed in today’s game by Chris Paul. If I’m trying to win an NBA Championship, and Chris Paul’s off the board, give me Rondo any day.
What do you think? Like, comment, subscribe/follow, post to Facebook and Twitter, email at pcd5834@gmail. Follow the SneakyGoodSportsGuy on Twitter @TheSneakySports. Thanks for reading!