NBA Power Rankings: Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo and the Top 10 Wizards With the Ball
With the ball in his hands, Rajon Rondo has been one of the most exciting players in the NBA this season.
His ball-handling and passing skills are perhaps the best in the league. However, with Rondo, it's more than that.
His great ball fakes have defenders guessing the entire time they're trying to guard him. Another thing Rondo has going for him are his odd-angled shots, runners and layups.
When you combine all of those things, Rondo may be more of a wizard with the ball than anyone.
Let's take a look at Rajon and nine other players whose wizardry with the rock makes them a ball to watch.
10: Pau Gasol
He possesses a lot of the same Euro-fundamentals that Luis Scola has, but with a slightly better handle of the ball (and not quite as good a set of pump fakes).
Pau has great vision from the post and knows how to find open guys spotting up or cutting within the triangle offense.
9: Kobe Bryant
Is he the same player he used to be? No. Is he still the best player in the league? Probably not. Even so, Kobe Bryant can still routinely make defenders look terrible.
His post moves and pump fakes make him as good a low-post guard as any in the league, but that's not the only place where he's a wizard.
His deep repertoire of moves makes him one of the toughest one-on-one matchups of all time.
8: Stephen Curry
The rising wizard of this bunch is Stephen Curry. He's only in his second season in the NBA, but he's already making defenders look ridiculous.
His handle is great, his ball fakes are sweet and although the jump shot doesn't factor heavily into this slideshow, you can never talk about Curry without mentioning that J.
7: Luis Scola
Luis Scola's post moves look like wizardry in today's NBA. Once upon a time, Scola-esque fakes, hooks and scoops were commonplace.
It makes me wonder how the low-post threats of the 50s and 60s would fare in today's game.
They may not be as athletic as guys like Dwight Howard or Blake Griffin, but Scola has proven that the old school game can still get a defender to prematurely leave his feet.
6: Manu Ginobili
If I wanted to factor flopping into this equation, Manu would likely be No. 1 on the list. However, even without that included, he's still a wizard on the floor.
He has a great handle for a 6'6" player. He also uses great pump fakes, can throw a solid behind-the-back pass and manages to finish some outrageous layups.
5: Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose is quick, athletic and strong. Now in his third year, he's starting to add some real craftiness (and a jump shot) to those great physical gifts.
Right now, his trademark piece of wizardry is his almost unguardable reverse lay-in.
Don't be surprised if Derrick Rose soon brings the Bulls back to their spot on the top.
4: Deron Williams
Considering he plays for the Jazz, Deron Williams' game may be more musical than magical.
His best known move is his crossover. Even though most defenders know it's coming, he still manages to victimize his foes with the cross on a regular basis.
He has great ball fakes and passing ability as well.
3: Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo does everything a great ball wizard should be able to do, and he does it all very well.
He uses great ball fakes, has a tight handle and makes some amazing passes.
When this Celtics team first came together, it was all about the "Big Three". Now, you can easily argue that Rondo is the team's most important player.
2: Chris Paul
Chris Paul's numbers are way down this year, but he still does fantastic things with the ball.
His moves are very compact and quick, and there may not be a single player in the league that can contain them for an extended period.
His team is performing far better than most expected them to at the start of the year, and Paul's wizardry is a big reason why.
1: Steve Nash
Steve Nash is less than a week away from his 37th birthday, and he's still making players all over the league look foolish.
In the last year, Nash has lost his two best options to pass to, and yet he continues to dazzle with his incredible assist numbers.
He's currently second in the NBA in assists per game, but his numbers are on the rise while Rajon Rondo's are heading down.
He's as good as anyone at juking, dribbling, faking, scooping and passing.