Why Rajon Rondo vs. Russell Westbrook Is a PG Matchup Made for the NBA Finals

Kyle Boggs@@kylekboggsCorrespondent IJune 5, 2012


There is no better matchup possible for the NBA Finals than Rajon Rondo vs. Russell Westbrook.

With the Oklahoma City Thunder one win away and the Boston Celtics seeming to grasp control of their series, basketball fans are close to a once-in-a-generation treat.

It’s been since the Detroit Pistons and L.A. Lakers squared off in back-to-back Finals in 1988 and ’89 that two of the league’s premier point guards have dueled for the title.

Now, in a league dominated by dazzling point guards, fans have the chance to see that again.

Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas were in their primes in those two finals series.

Rondo and Westbrook are on the early side of their ascents to the top of the game.

As the playoffs have gone on, each has gotten better. Neither is affected by big situations. They both possess the clutch gene.

The two are the most exciting point guards in the NBA—and they each play the game with their own unique style.

Rondo is a pure point guard. He is the kind of player a basketball historian will rave about to future generations. How many times during these playoffs have you seen him turn down an open shot to set up a teammate?

He does so with a stylish flair all his own. He threads needles that aren’t there.

When Rondo controls the ball, you expect wizardry. Whether it comes from a fake behind the back pass or a no-look lob into the post, he awes nightly.

Westbrook, on the other hand, is the embodiment of today’s point guard. He’s always a threat to score.

Westbrook is a proficient passer, a skill that often goes overlooked when discussing the Thunder point guard. But it’s his attacking drives that opposing coaches design their defenses to stop.

Outside of LeBron James, Westbrook may possess more flat-out athleticism than anyone in the NBA. He has the speed to blow past any defender and is by far the most powerful dunker of all point guards.

That is what makes a Rondo vs. Westbrook matchup so intriguing: they’re both at the top of their game but play very different styles.

Tony Parker is a phenomenal point guard in his own right, but his pass-first, shoot the open jumper second style is too similar to Rondo’s.

And Mario Chalmers… he just doesn’t belong in the discussion.

With Westbrook and Rondo going head-to-head in the Finals, fans get to see all sides of the point guard spectrum. Both players consistently make sensational plays. Both players are must-see TV.

Whether it’s Rondo coming up with yet another triple double or Westbrook putting Kevin Garnett on a poster, point guard genius will be on display if the Thunder and Celtics reach the Finals.