|Posted by paul on August 11, 2011 at 9:00 AM|
SI's Zach Lowe got everyone stirred up with the epic comparison he made between Rajon Rondo and Tony Parker, as part of his top 100 NBA player ranking.
Of course, I think Rondo should be ranked higher than the 27th best in the NBA that Lowe gives him, that he should be top 20 at least, if not top 15, or possibly even squeaking into the top ten; after all, he's widely acknowledged to be the best player on the Celtics. That, to me, is more important than how he compares to Tony Parker. In my opinion, writers and opinionators are punishing Rondo for the way he fell apart over the last month of last season. I think they are blaming the wrong person. Danny Ainge blew the team's title chances with a horrible trade, and writers want to blame Rondo?
With that in mind, what I find interesting about Lowe's comments is not anything he specifically says; in fact, I think he picks on the wrong Rondo flaw to knock his rating down with. Rondo's poor shooting is obviously a big problem, but a much bigger problem in his game, the one that has caused the Celtics' offense to underachieve, is Rondo's inconsistency. Anyone who watches the Celtics regularly is painfully aware of this. Rondo looks like his mind isn't on the game of basketball half the time. He walks the ball up the court, stands around eating up shot clock, and then finally drops the ball off to one of the Big Three and waits for them to make a play. Or not. Usually not. When he's in this mode, it's just maddening to watch. One wonders how much of it is his idea, and how much of it is the old guys telling him to use up as much shot clock as possible. Either way, it's a terrible way to run an offense.
It's not that you have to always push the ball up the floor, any more than a band has to always play up tempo. What's important is to use pacing as your friend. Sometimes you push the ball, sometimes you slow it down, but always you try to control the tempo, keeping the defense on your string. When Rondo is focused, he does that better than anyone. When he's not ... it's like having a robo-pointguard.
Still, what I find interesting about Zach Lowe's article is how hard he has to work to talk himself into giving Rondo a low rating. I think it's kind of funny, in a way. I think everyone knows that Rondo is one of the best players in the league, but statistically ... well, frankly, he's a walking, running, defending, passing, crazy-playmaking embarrassment to the notion that everything in sports can be measured statistically.