NBA Playoffs 2012: Ranking Rajon Rondo and the Top Point Guards in the Playoffs
Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics may be down 1-0 to the Atlanta Hawks early into the 2012 NBA Playoffs, yet Rondo has been able to prove his worth as an elite point guard throughout the course of this season.
In a Game 1 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, in spite of his ejection, he was able to prove just how impactful he is at the point guard position. After his chest-bump to the back of Marc Davis, the Celtics saw a four-point deficit build to nine points in the final minute-and-a-half of play.
Where does Rondo rank among the other elite point guards in the league? Does the injury to Derrick Rose give Rondo the top spot in the East at the position? Did a sensational Game 1 performance from Chris Paul grant him a No. 1 spot?
These are the top five point guards in these 2012 NBA playoffs.
Note: Rankings will be based on regular-season play, yet will take into account playoffs if there is a close race between two players for one spot. Players like Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert will not be given consideration, as they are no longer a part of these playoffs.
Honorable Mention: Ramon Sessions, L.A. Lakers
Ever so quietly, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Ramon Sessions has helped this team get back on track.
As a starter this season, Sessions has averaged 13.7 points, seven assists, 3.7 rebounds and shoots nearly 47 percent.
More importantly, the Lakers are 15-9 with Sessions this season. The former Cleveland Cavaliers point guard has gotten off to a quick start this postseason, recording 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting and five assists.
No. 5: Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic
The motto in Orlando has been "No Howard...No Problem." Or if it hasn't, it should be, and Jameer Nelson is the very reason why.
The Magic point guard helped the team finish No. 6 in the East this season, while helping mount a Game 1 comeback against the Indiana Pacers. The 11 straight points for the Magic to close the game helped the team to split two games in Indiana to start the series.
Nelson is a proven offensive threat, boasting relative consistency on defense as well. As he has that playoff experience under his belt with an NBA Finals run in 2009, there is no doubt Nelson has what it takes to lead this team over the Pacers in the first round.
One of the more underrated point guards in basketball will only continue to turn heads around the league as this postseason continues on.
No. 4: Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
It's a shame to have Tony Parker at No. 4 on the list, as he is every bit capable of sliding into the top three when these playoffs are all said and done.
Parker did an exceptional job at leading this veteran ballclub to a No. 1 seed in an ultra-competitive Western Conference which includes the likes of the L.A. powerhouses, Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks as potential championship contenders.
In his most recent outing, Parker shot above 50 percent and scored 28 in the Game 1 win over the Utah Jazz. Fans have all the more reason to believe his play will only continue to improve with each game.
Make no mistake about it: Give this list a week or two, and it will be difficult to have Parker outside of the top two spots.
No. 3: Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
After what was a stellar regular season of play, Rondo undoubtedly earns himself a spot as a top-three point guard in the NBA playoffs.
With over 11 assists per game, Rondo was the league leader when it came to dropping dimes. His ability to keep the Celtics offense fluid and at its best throughout the course of the season was something to watch.
Currently, Rondo has posted a record 24 games in a row with at least 10 assists, the most since Stockton recorded 29 consecutive 10-plus-assist games in 1992.
Yet a late chest-bump in Game 1 that led to an ejection cost the Celtics any chance at stealing Game 1 in Atlanta, as it also had Rondo falling just behind another elite PG on this list.
No. 2: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
It was between Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook for this No. 2 spot, as Westbrook's playoff performances rightfully earn him the slight edge over the Celtics All-Star.
Westbrook recorded 28 points in Game 1 and an impressive 29 in Game 2. The 28-point performance in Game 1 was the difference-maker for this team, knocking off the defending champions to get off on the right foot.
Although he knows he must improve when it comes to getting his teammates involved in the offense, there is no question his offensive talents have propelled him to this No. 2 spot on the list. Rondo had the slightly better regular season, yet Westbrook has turned it on when it counted most.
No. 1: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Lakers fans may not like the sound of it, but Paul has the Clippers chasing their crosstown rivals in a hurry.
Hands down, without a doubt, Chris Paul earns the top honors for this top point guard list.
This season, Paul has given the L.A. Clippers a new light, leading them to a No. 5 seed in the conference and having the team playing at a championship level. Offensively, the group has been rejuvenated with the acquisition of Paul this offseason.
For the year, Paul is averaging 19.8 points, 9.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.5 steals per contest. A 27-point comeback against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their series told the story best, with Paul leading the way with 11 assists in the jaw-dropping victory.