Boston Celtics: Why Rajon Rondo Is the Best Point Guard in the NBA
In a day and age in which the combo guard has become the new standard for quality at the point, a bit of old school remains. Rather than the score-first, assist on the drive and dish type of point guard, there is still a glimpse of the set plays and passes into creases. The player who goes out and instantly improves the quality of the players around him.
While much could be made of an MVP award that a fellow point guard has won, or the "lack of quality players" surrounding another, there is a reason Rondo is the best in the NBA. Here are the reasons you need to know.
7a. Selfless but Dominant
It's truly astonishing how few teams and fans of the NBA have figured this out. In order to win an NBA championship, the idea of a "best player" must be thrown to the wind. A championship team is one that depends on every single player in the rotation fulfilling their expectations and every coach calling games to perfection.
Evidence of such is the fact that no team that has won an NBA championship has ever been dependent on one player. Ever.
Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. Shaquille O'Neal had Kobe Bryant. Kobe had Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. David Robinson had Tim Duncan. And Duncan had Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.
The issue with that statement is that it's all false. They had a supporting cast that went well-beyond the players we all know.
The Bruce Bowens, Robert Horrys, Steve Kerrs, Sean Elliots and Lamar Odoms may be unheralded, but they are not to be undervalued. This is why Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the NBA; not a single player in the Boston Celtics' lineup goes unnoticed.
From Kevin Garnett to Marquis Daniels, every player is involved. At the heart of this is an excellent system and the best facilitator in the NBA.
7b. Selfless but Dominant, Part 2
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Beyond getting his teammates involved, Rajon Rondo can take over a game in ways that can't possibly go unnoticed. Yet, for some reason, they do.
Rondo dribbles through elite defenses as if they were opening the door to the basket for him. He utilizes the glass in ways that every coach wishes their players would. He makes passes into seams that Peyton Manning would be impressed by. And finally, his decisions always lead to points.
His focus is unbreakable, timing is impeccable and vision is unscathed. Rondo may just be the best player in the NBA.
6. Can Score When He Needs... Wants... to
Two of Rajon Rondo's 30 points in Game 2 of the opening round: 2011 NBA Playoffs.
The common misconception about Rajon Rondo is that he just can't score. The fact of the matter is, he can. Although he prefers to be passive, when Rondo does want to score, he does so in bunches.
What's most impressive about Rondo's ability to score is that he doesn't depend on athleticism to do so. While the new-born point guard must be able to dunk as well as hit the quintessential three, Rondo gets by on his quickness and craftiness. He's also excellent at predicting a defender's movements and reactions, making him impossible to defend.
He's also one of the few 6'1" players who can cover a basketball with two hands, making his ability to finish at the basket that much scarier. Oh, and he's developing a jump shot.
5. Defense, Defense, Defense
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Not only is Rajon Rondo a shut-down defender, but he's also one of the most versatile defenders in the NBA. He often spends time on the opponent's best player, regardless of their position or size. He also has quick hands that lead to roughly two assists per game season-in and season-out.
His latest masterpiece was a smothering of New Jersey's Deron Williams. The man who went off for 57 points earlier in the year was held to just 3-of-12 shooting and turned the ball over four times April 14. At the heart of these struggles was Rondo's excellent footwork, unreal wingspan and quick-but-giant hands.
Coaches and teammates react to Rondo's gruesome injury.
I was close to utilizing the infamous elbow-popping picture to begin this slide, but felt it was too cruel to torture those with weak stomachs, myself being one of those people.
For those who do want to re-visit the gruesome, Rajon Rondo infamously fell to the ground and dislocated his elbow. He also came back that very night and led the Celtics to a victory over the Miami Heat. With one arm.
While I will not argue against the toughness of other players in the NBA, this game speaks volumes for a player's legacy. While the Celtics went on to lose the series, finding it impossible to overcome the Heat's smothering defense with a one-armed point guard, Rondo's performance will forever live on in playoff lore.
As will his legacy as one of the toughest S.O.B.s around.
3. The League's Best Facilitator
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With all due respect to Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo has taken the leap from elite to greatest facilitator. If you don't believe me, look at the numbers. If you don't trust numbers, watch a full play develop and witness the brilliant passes and timely screens. Furthermore, watch in awe as Rondo sees plays develop before the defense is even set.
Lately, Rondo has taken things to another level. He has topped double-digit assists in 21 consecutive games, posting exactly 10 in just two. The first two.
Furthermore, he's posted two triple-doubles over that span and topped 15 assists on seven different occasions. One of those games was a 10-point, 10-rebound and 20-assist domination of the Atlanta Hawks.
2. Keeping the Celtics Alive
The Celtics started off 0-3 and Rondo brought them back with a triple-double against the Wizards. The Celtics lost five straight and fell to 4-8, forcing Rondo to bring them back with a 21-point performance against the Raptors.
The fact of the matter is, the season would have been lost well before Rondo's injury had No. 9 not played as well as he did. Such was evident as key plays by Rondo led to a 91-89 victory over the New York Knicks in his first game back. He impressed again with his 32-point, 15-rebound and 10-assist performance to defeat the Bulls.
And then there came history.
1. History Making Season
Rajon Rondo has dished out double-digit assists in each of the Celtics' past 21 games. He also has six triple-doubles, including one in which he posted 18 points, 20 assists and 17 rebounds, a mark of 15-15-15 that only Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain had previously surpassed.
He has already passed Magic Johnson for the second-longest double-digit assist streak in league history and is within eight of John Stockton's all-time mark. With just six games remaining in the regular season, we may see Rondo make history in the playoffs, even if it must be considered unofficial.
Find another point guard who can do what Rondo does and we'll begin our debate.