Rajon Rondo always seems to be at the center of a debate. He's an old-school point guard in a league filled with athletic floor generals who love scoring more than facilitating, so he's naturally going to be a rather divisive player.
But even his detractors don't normally take their evaluations to such hyperbolic extremes that you wonder whether the sentiments were made in jest, like an Eastern Conference scout recently did, via ESPN Insider Chris Broussard (subscription required):
Three years ago, I was the only scout saying Rondo is overrated, and I was crucified for it. I was saying he was awful. I think he's a selfish player. He's only going to pass it to you if he thinks he can get an assist. I've seen him come out for pregame warm-ups with his shoes untied, shooting lefty foul shots. For him to come out for a game with that attitude makes me question his work ethic. I've never liked his game.
If you play with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen at close to their peak, they're going to raise everyone's game. Defensively, Rondo's a bit of a gambler, and I don't think his defense is all that. If I was starting a team and had my choice of any point guard, he would be 40th. I mean it. I'd take some backups before him.
Let's break down the problems with this.
"He's only going to pass to you if he thinks it will lead directly to a made field goal, the optimal outcome of a basketball possession," writes Deadspin's Tom Ley. Well that's an obvious criticism, as assists are positives and passes that aren't assists—unless they're leading to more development—aren't as positive.
His defense isn't all that?
Thanks for providing evidence, Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous Scout. 82games.com shows that this season, even though he's recovering from a torn ACL, Rondo is allowing opposing 1-guards to post a below-average 14.8 player efficiency rating against him.
However, nothing is as egregious as saying you'd take 39 point guards before the Boston Celtics floor general. If you want to be bold, say 10 or 15.
Don't say he's 40th.
I honestly don't even know where to begin with this statement, because there's no way an employed scout can possibly believe that Rondo shouldn't be starting for an NBA team. Let's go ahead and assume that the starting point guards in the Association are the 30 best. It's a faulty assumption, but work with me here.
That's 29 guys already better than Rondo, and we still have to find 10 more.
Where does Rondo rank among all NBA point guards?
Right now, the 10 best backup floor generals in the NBA—starters determined by Rotoworld's current depth charts—are as follows (listed in alphabetical order): D.J. Augustin, Steve Blake, Norris Cole, Darren Collison, Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lin, Andre Miller, Patty Mills, Greivis Vasquez and Mo Williams. You could argue for a few others, but that's not really the point.
Would you really take any of those guys over Rondo, much less all of them?
One thing is certain—this anonymous scout can't be working for a competitive team.