Friday, November 5, 2010

Straight From The Rook #5

Mat MacDonald AKA The Rook

The Rook is currently enrolled in Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. A frequent contributor to all NBA and Raptors debates along with other sports. Witty, quick and never afraid of a challenge, Mat's here to talk hoops with you and dish out his two cents whenever!

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Rondo, Rondo, Rondo

Remember when the big-three was assembled in Boston?

KG, Ray and Paul Pierce combined to create a three-headed monster that would ultimately win an NBA championship in their first year as a trio. That was scary. You know what was even

The fact that they actually had the big four.

Rajon Rondo has flown under the radar for a few years now. Sure he's been in big games, dropped big numbers and still managed to be the quietest one on the court but with all that being said, Rondo's become a top point-guard in the NBA to date.

Look at the progression of Rondo's numbers over the years. They haven't been amazing, but when you consider the fact that he has the likes of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett on his team, you can't really complain.

Add to that the new additions of this year's roster with Shaq and Jermaine O'Neal and you can't shake your head at what Rondo's done.

  • 2007 (Rookie) - 6 PPG, 4 APG, 4 RPG in 25 starts with no Allen or KG
  • 2008 - 10.5 PPG, 5 APG, 4 RPG and an NBA championship ring while starting every game.
  • 2009 - 12 PPG, 8 APG, 5 RPG including a massive performance against the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs that turned heads world-wide.
  • 2010 - 14 PPG, 10 APG, 4 RPG with no championship right but yet another amazing playoff run.
  • Currently - 11 PPG, 16 APG, 6 RPG and no, that's not a typo.

Are you kidding me Rajon Rondo? 16 assists per-game? And you've already had a game with 24 this season?

Rajon Rondo may not go down as the best point-guard to ever play the game, but he will for sure go down as one of the most productive and elusive to ever step on an NBA floor. Rondo's a workhorse averaging a double-double right now and is on pace to break Jason Kidd's career triple-double mark, that is of course if Kidd doesn't decide to average a triple-double this year and Rondo stays healthy.

So where does Rondo rank on the top point-guard list for this NBA class? Let's check it out:

First off it's important to note that if we're going by NBA championship rings (which we
aren't) then there would be some names put in this list that maybe shouldn't be there. But just like when people debate Kobe and LeBron, we'll leave it with just stats.

Shout out to all you Kobe fans who use rings as the reason why he's the best!

Here's a top-five from list of point-guards in the NBA to date from how I see it:

5. Rajon Rondo: Yes, the article is being written because of Rajon Rondo's amazing season that he's having so far and his unbelievable talent, but right now he's not the number one point-guard in the NBA. He is however top five and with good reason.

Rondo's all-around numbers have been great for point-guards. The fact that on any given night he's a threat for a triple-double and even to lead his team in rebounding is a hard task for other teams to step up against on a consistent basis. For that I give Rondo the nod at 5.

4. Russell Westbrook: It's so hard to try and explain to people why Westbrook deserves to be in this list. He plays on a team where Kevin Durant gets a lot of the exposure, but there's no doubt that the Thunder wouldn't be where they're at today if it weren't for Russ. Last season he averaged 16 points and 8 assists a game while helping KD lead the Thunder into the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history since the move from Seattle. He also earned himself on the USA team this past summer where he was a star and a valuable asset at the point-guard position. With his team looking to be in the top five this year in the Western Conference there's
no doubt that Westbrook deserves to be on this list.

3. Deron Williams: I would've put D-Will at number one on the list if he hadn't been hurt at times through his career. Without a doubt Deron is the strongest point-guard in the game and at times resembles a forward with his ability to play back to the basket hoops. He's taken the Jazz back to the top just like John Stockton did but with a bit more flare. He hasn't really had his chance to find a Malone yet. Boozer was a good piece, but to me he never really seemed to fit the bill for what Williams was looking for. With Al Jefferson in Utah there's a much better chance that Williams may had his number 32 standing next to him every night on the floor this season.

2. Chris Paul: The only reason he's not number one right now is simple - he hardly played last season. Absolutely there's no doubt that Paul's numbers for his career have been outstanding and he's done nothing but great things since his time in the league, but injury hurts. With a healthy Chris Paul the Hornets remain one of the only three teams in the NBA left undefeated and that's saying a lot considering many had the Hornets as long-shots to make the NBA playoffs. With a healthy CP3 in New Orleans and hopefully not in New York by the All-Star break, the Hornets could find themselves deep in the NBA playoffs, but that's about it.

1. Derrick Rose: Chuck Swirsky you can stand up and cheer. You have a winner in front of you every night in Chicago. Did anyone catch Rose's latest poster on the Knicks? That was absolutely disgusting. And before you think that one thrilling dunk is going to make me pick D-Rose as number one, think again. Rose has been hands down the hardest point-guard in the NBA to cover since he came into the league. He brought a new flash to the game.

His speed is unmatched with the ball and his athleticism is out of this world for a point-guard. Add to that he can take any sort of contact in the air, score from virtually any spot on the floor and still create for his teammates and you have a player that other NBA superstars would love to play with.

The question is if Chicago doesn't go deep into the playoffs with the roster they have this year will they be able to get the right pieces to go around Rose?

Just a note:
Rose was the first Chicago Bull to become an NBA All-Star since Michael Jordan. Not sure if you heard of him though.

All of that being said there's still tons of room for flipping in rankings. There's probably people out there that are wondering where the likes of Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups, John Wall and Brandon Jennings are.

It's simple:

First off take Billups, Kidd and Nash. There's no question that when all three of these players retire they'll be first ballot NBA Hall-Of-Fame members.

Nash has won back to back NBA MVP awards and lead the Phoenix Suns to countless winning seasons. The biggest knock on the Suns when lead by Nash has been their inability to win when it counts the most. Last season in the playoffs the Suns finally took care of business against the Spurs but failed to make it to an NBA championship which lead to the departure of Amare Stoudemire.

If Steve Nash can win one ring while he's in the NBA, even if it means going to a team like Miami or the Lakers, there's no doubt that he could be placed in the top three of all-time NBA point-guards. But for the purposes of the list and the young talent that's in the league to date, there's not much room for an expiring Nash to crack the top five.

Chauncey's been a leader in shooting percentage for point-guards for years. He's taken the Detroit Pistons to NBA Finals appearances, he's won, and he's proven to be the most valuable player for almost every team he's ever played on.

As he's gotten older he's become more of a shooter and less of a facilitator, and compared to the likes of Rose and Rondo, there's no way that Billups would be able to put those kind of assist numbers up right now.

His biggest key to success right now is to stay in Denver where he gets to tandem with Ty Lawson. The two of them combined really help the Nuggets chance of keeping Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets offense alive and kicking.

Kidd's the only player that was extremely hard to keep off the list. He's been an unbelievable talent in the NBA, a workhorse, un-breakable and is still to this day a constant threat to have a triple-double on any given night. The biggest thing with Kidd just like Nash is that he hasn't won, and while I said before that means nothing in the scheme of things when we're talking about the top five point-guards in the NBA to date, Kidd just simply can't keep up.

As for the two freshmen so to speak in Brandon Jennings and John Wall, the reason is simple:

Get some more experience under your belt.

John Wall is already turning heads in the NBA after posting 30+ assists in his first three games combined including a miraculous come from behind victory over the 76ers in his home debut.

There's no question that Wall's going to be a top point-guard in the NBA within the next five seasons. His speed is comparable to Derrick Rose's, his passing ability near Steve Nash, and his overall knowledge of the game rates among the tops in the NBA already. It's just a matter of time until Wall gets himself settled in the NBA that he'll be considered a top five player.
Brandon Jennings just does it in dazzle fashion on a nightly basis.

Remember when he dropped 55 against the Warriors? Remember when he stood up to KG and told him to take that garbage out of his arena? Remember when Brandon Jennings proved everyone wrong about his experiment to play in Europe before the NBA?

Well now things are changing for Jennings and the league's taking notice. One of the hardest things to guard in Jennings' game is his quickness and shot.

Every time a defender wants to play tight, Jennings gives him the one-two step and gets to the rim. Every time someone wants to sag off and give him the shot, he's more than happy to hit it. That dangerous combination along with a solid Bucks team gives Jennings the keys to success and ultimately a place in history by the time his career is complete.

There are so many different ways to look at the point-guards in the NBA today and rank them. Do we look at them by what their team's records have been over the years? Do we rank them by total assists, points, double-doubles, triple-doubles, rings? What gives the right for someone to say that Rose is better than Rondo, or Kidd doesn't deserve to be in the top five of this season's point-guards?

That's why we watch the game. That's why we love the game! We've been blessed with this question for every position in the NBA and it's something we look to have answered for us on a nightly basis. If you aren't excited to turn on your television or get out to your arena every night and watch the best talent in the NBA then there's something horribly wrong with you.

For now, we sit and watch because folks, I promise that these next ten years may be some of the best basketball you ever witness.

Give us your take on who you think the top five PG's in the league are, there's always room for error!


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