On one side of the country sits Steve Nash, who, along with Jason Kidd, is one of the two best point guards of his generation. Nash, a medical marvel and still playing at a high level at age 38, arrived in Los Angeles this offseason via sign and trade in an attempt to win that elusive first title with the Lakers.
On the other side of the country sits Rajon Rondo, a 26-year-old rising point guard who is undoubtedly frothing at the mouth as experts everywhere are picking Nash’s team to make the NBA Finals while brushing off his Boston Celtics as past their prime.
Unlike Nash, Rondo won a title early, in just his second year in the NBA, when he was one of the few players remaining after team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge brought Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to Boston.
It seems symbolic that Rondo finally overtook Nash and his two-year hold on the assist title this past season (11.7 assists per game for Rondo, 10.7 for Nash). The two were almost teammates. Phoenix, the team that drafted Nash and the one he’ll most likely be most associated with when his playing days are finally over, drafted Rondo in a deal with the Celtics in 2006.
And now, with one’s career on the cusp and the other well beyond the back nine, they play for two of the league’s signature franchises, teams that don’t like each other very much at all, by the way.
But even though their trajectories appear to be like two ships passing in the night, with Rondo’s on the brink of transcendent greatness after a stellar postseason, and Nash’s on the decline despite his continued brilliance in his 16th NBA season, their respective games have almost nothing in common.
Let us count the ways.