BY: KWAME FISHER-JONES
When Rajon Rondo declared he was the best point guard in the league this offseason, some scoffed at the Louisville native. Truth be told the Celtic was 100 percent correct in his assertion.
There is no better floor general or facilitator in the game then Rondo. .
The last two seasons have bared witness to the point elevate his game to an unprecedented level. The Celtic leader’s unification of pure passing and true point guard instincts is what has propelled him atop the point guard hierarchy.
In the last two seasons Rondo has nine triple doubles, which is a jaw dropping considering who the former Kentucky Wildcat plays with on any given NBA night. Many have forgotten Rondo does not play with some of the game’s best finishers like say the Los Angeles Clippers Chris Paul. The headband toting guard does not benefit from playing in the up and down pace of the Western Conference ala Los Angeles Lakers’ Steve Nash and Oklahoma City Thunder Russell Westbrook. Nor does he benefit from having the bulk of the plays called for him such as Chicago Bulls’ point man Derrick Rose and the Brooklyn Nets’ Deron Williams.
No Rondo is just the quintessential lead guard.
Of all the guards mentioned none come remotely close to Rondo’s triple double numbers. In addition, only Westbrook has played in the NBA Finals. People often find it easy to over judge weaknesses and undervalue strengths.
Those who oppose this notion will state that Rondo’s outside shot or lack of a fluid jumpshot is why he is not ranked among the NBA’s elite. Oddly, one cannot recall former Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Mark Price or former NBA journeymen Terrell Brandon being considered the game’s best at any point in their perspective careers, despite having tremendous “touch”.
If scoring is the deciding factor the scoring prowess of Lloyd Free (commonly known as World B. Free), should allow the former San Diego Clipper to be the best to ever play the position. Considering Free built a reputation of dropping 40 points and securing negative 12 assists on any given night.
Sounds crazy and a bit overly dramatic, but the point is obvious, while scoring is an important facet it is not what wins championships or even secures permanent fixtures in NBA lure.
The point guard’s job is to lead the team in assists, defend the opposing team’s point at a high level and be no higher than their team’s third leading scorer. Now if shooting were the sole proprietor in the land of great point guards, than John Stockton and Steve Kerr would be the greatest to ever lace them up. Now some would argue for Stockton but even Kerr’s mother would concede he is not worthy of such a title.
This brings us back to Rondo, and exactly where the guard surpasses his contemporaries. The Celtic guard is a tremendous facilitator who is also a top five defender at his position and fearless rebounder. What other top five guards can make that claim?
In the last four years only Nash has had more total assists (3128 compared to Rondo’s 2833) and only Westbrook (1480 compared to Rondo’s 1330) has more rebounds, but no player has the combination of both.
Greatness has a way of proclaiming rather than insinuating. In last season’s Eastern Conference Finals run only two teams had three players in the top ten in scoring, one of those teams were the Boston Celtics. The other squad was the Oklahoma City Thunder, surprisingly the point guard “who can’t” outscored the league’s Six Man of the Year and known Thunder gunner James Harden. Crazy to think the guard was able to score at such a high clip and still muster the grit to outrebound the starting center, Kendrick Perkins (128 to 124), for the Western Conference Champions.
Those things don’t matter though, because apparently Chris Paul can throw a mean oop to Blake Griffin.
So why is there such a reluctance to accept the young stallion as leader of the Derby?
Perhaps the head band or appeared lack of social skills has hindered his applause? Maybe it is the fact that he is a vial Celtic and the only player permitted love from the green tribe is Bill Russell, outside of those personal reasons there is no plausible basketball related reason Rondo’s name is not atop the point guard world.
To be blunt he is not a flopper like Paul, awaiting a gurney like Rose, an unconscious shooter like Westbrook, and allergic to defense like Nash. The guard is just a walking triple double whose game has managed to be understated.
We as fans sometimes salute the first round knockout and disregard the 12 round masterpiece and in the process loss sight of how great completion is. Rondo has mastered the enter gamut of basketball and based on his production, accompanied by the Celtics success, the point has proclaimed that his greatness is unrivaled.
As the 2012-2013 season commences there should be little doubt that the Boston Celtics are now Rajon Rondo’s team, and there should be even less doubt of his throne as the undisputed best point guard in the game today.