Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rajon Rondo vs Chris Paul

This article was originally published for

Not too long ago, fresh off his miraculous 29 pt, 18 rebounds, 13 assist game against the Cleveland Cavaliers - which put him in the company of Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain - Rajon Rondo was being debated as the best point guard in the NBA. He was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and the keys to the Boston franchise were whole heartedly handed over to him by local and national media.

Curious that now, with Chris Paul announcing he wants out of New Orleans, you'll find some Celtics fans hoping for a switch. Including ESPN's Boston sports guy, Bill Simmons:
"Boston has the hammer offer if they want to make it: Rondo, Perkins, Sheed's ghost, No. 1 + 3m for CP3 + Okafor. NO has to say yes to that."
Rondo has become beloved by the Boston fans. One need look no further than Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals for evidence of this. MVP chants heard roaring through the Garden when the young point guard lay motionless on the court after being bumped hard by Dwight Howard. He's become a clear leader on the team and, while he's clashed with the veterans at times, he's earned their respect. That coupled with his relationship with Doc Rivers, and Rondo clearly seems to be the best fit for Boston.

On the other side, while it's close, Rondo is not quite the same player Paul is. His lack of a jump shot and poor free throw percentage are clear weaknesses. Also, you'd think that one advantage Rondo holds over Paul is his ability to reel in boards. That's not quite the case either. Below are the stats:

Rajon Rondo: 2007-10
PPG: 10.7, AST: 6.8, TRB: 4.4, FT: 63%, FGA: 8.9, FG: 48%, 3P: 24%, STL: 1.9, TOV: 2.3
Chris Paul: 2006-10
PPG: 19.3, AST: 10.0, TRB: 4.7, FT: 84%, FGA: 14.5, FG: 47%, 3P: 35%, STL: 2.4, TOV: 2.6

When the two point guards go head to head, a larger disparity emerges. Rondo and Paul have faced each other 7 times with Boston holding a 4-3 advantage. Here's the stats:

Rajon Rondo
PPG: 10.6, AST: 6.3, TRB: 4.4, FT: 57%, FGA: 10.3, FG: 45%, STL: 2.0, TOV: 2.7
Chris Paul
PPG: 18.7, AST: 8.6, TRB: 3.9, FT: 76%, FGA: 13.1, FG: 48%, STL: 2.4, TOV: 2.1

Chris Paul wants to play with another superstar; favoring the Knicks, Magic, Lakers, Mavericks and Blazers. However, Simmons comments (realistic or not) stir up the debate. Who would you rather have on the Celtics? Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo?

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