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Making the case for Rajon Rondo as a franchise player

Dec 28, 2011, 6:20 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks Getty Images

We keep hearing rumors that Rajon Rondo is on the trade block — it had been for Chris Paul but the Celtics will listen to other offers, too. They are not going to move him for just anyone, but he’s not the easiest player to get along with and Boston is keeping its options open.

But is that really the best strategy?

Brian Windhorst, who covers the Miami Heat for ESPN (and was in Cleveland with LeBron James before that) says that Rajon Rondo should not only be kept but also be the guy they build around for the future.

“The Celtics, for some reason, think they can upgrade there. Most basketball people will say to you, if you could choose between Rondo or Chris Paul, they would choose Chris Paul. But I’m going to tell you something … I would roll with Rondo. No. 1, he doesn’t have bad knees like Chris Paul does. No. 2, I think he is as good of a defensive point guard as has been in the league in this era. He might be the defensive point guard since Gary Payton. I just have so much respect for him.

“I know he can be tough to deal with. But go show me a star player that doesn’t have issues at times. To me, I think Rondo is a franchise player and I agree that he benefits from being around Hall of Famers. But guess what? Take a look at the teams that win titles. You’re not seeing too many one-man teams win titles. You do need to have a couple of other stars.

“I think getting a point guard, especially in this era of the NBA, is vital and I think Rondo has been largely healthy, especially in his legs. He’d be my guy if I was running the Celtics.”

Windhorst his higher on Rondo than I am, but not a lot. I would flip Rondo for Paul or Dwight Howard or a handful of other true superstars. But there are maybe 10 guys on that list. Maybe. And those guys almost never come up as available.

However, if you have Rondo and the tradition (and money) of Boston, you can lure other players to come there and rebuild a winner in the post big 3 era. Rondo can be the bridge that speeds up rebuilding. Talk of moving him for anyone but a true superstar is foolish.

  1. dirtydavis - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    Trade Rondo, J. O’neal and J. Green ( whenever he comes back) for Dwight Howard… The owner/GM do want veteran players right?

  2. thatboi901 - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    If rondo keeps shooting like he is he may shoot himself untradable. The whole knock on Rondo is he cant knock down a jumper. He been knocking them down with confidence this year. When have you ever seen rondo take a pull up 3 and it went in??

    • njsteeler - Dec 28, 2011 at 9:51 PM

      Agreed, thatboi901. The 31 he put up on the Knicks was pretty impressive. I’m not trading him unless I get a quality PG to take his place. Who’s going to run the Point if they trade him for Howard, Avery Brooks? The kid not only plays D, but he’s a nice rebounder for a PG. Trade him to the Knicks if you want to get rid of him that bad! LOL

  3. bearsstillsuck - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    His positives outweighs his negatives and I wouldn’t trade him for any one person in the league.

    • dirtydavis - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:44 PM

      yeah right? Not even for D. Howard, K. Durant, or Brian Scalabrine?

      • 00maltliquor - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:23 AM

        B. Scal is a no brainer. Anytime you can get a talent like the White Mamba you do it!!

      • chitownmatt - Dec 29, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        If I has to choose who to have a beer with, Scal or Rondo?
        Scal all the way!!!

  4. a185 - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    He’s been knocking down jumpers? like in the first two games… that’s not enough to go on… it hasn’t even been a week. The truth is every other great point guard of this decade… Jason Kidd, Chris Paul, Derek Rose, Steve Nash made regular players better. J Kidd went to the finals with Kerry Kittles, Keith Van Horn, Kenyon Martin and Jason Collins… Chris Paul led his team deep into the playoffs with only David West who’s no where near KG, Nash had Amar’e still not a hall of famer but he made a lot of those guys better. He’s the reason Joe Johnson is over paid now… it was all Nash, Richardson and Marion haven’t been the same. Derek Rose went to the east finals with no other player that could create their own shot. Ray Allen, Pierce and KG can score on their own it doesn’t better who passes them the ball that person is getting an assist thus Rondo gets a lot of assists

    • borderline1988 - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:54 AM

      I do think Rondo makes other players better. He is a very gifted passer, maybe not on the level of Kidd and Nash, but at least as good as Rose (and Paul in my opinion).

      But passing isn’t everything for a PG. For instance, Rondo might be one of the best defending PGs of all time. Compared to Nash? That makes a big, big difference. Even if Rondo were to average 3-4 assists less than Nash, it’s easily made up with his defense.
      And Rondo is very good at scoring the ball as well. Very quick and a very good finisher.

      Ultimately though, it comes down to shooting. Rondo’s inability to shoot is masked somewhat by Allen, Pierce, and KG. If it weren’t for those 3 guys, people would clog the lane and force Rondo to shoot. Instead the defense is running around chasing Allen and double-teaming Pierce. KG is perhaps the best shooting big man of the last 2 decades, Pierce is a threat always, and Allen is the greatest long-distance shooter in NBA history. Those 3 are why lanes open up for someone as quick as Rondo.

      That’s why Rondo isn’t a cornerstone player. Put him on a team like Chicago, and their offense would suck b/c they don’t have incredible jump shooters at almost every position. Or LA Lakers or Clippers.

      I don’t think the Celtics should trade Rondo b/c he is a special player, and the chances of getting anything as good in return is small. He is also a great fit for certain teams, you just ahve to build a certain way around him.
      But he is not a superstar. His numbers are inflated by 3 HOFs on his team. He would average 15 points and 9 assists on a bad team. Good, but not superstar level. More like Calderon level (minus the defense)

  5. allball23 - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    Rondo is def underatted he is one of the top players in the league. If he keeps being able to shoot he will be top 5 player in the league

    • mrsdestinydevine - Dec 29, 2011 at 12:45 PM

      Rondo is overrated! Very overrated. So what if he played with one bad arm last year, Kobe has been playing with bad knees, toes, busted back, tooth ache you name it, Chris Paul has bad knees. The difference between the three is Kobe and Chris have game, they can shoot, they can dunk, they make plays. Rondo to me is still playing timid, and his jumper is horrible. I’m not a Celtics fan, but its time for a new PG who really has skills.

      • njsteeler - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:32 PM

        Wow, they can dunk. Great theory mrsdestinydivine. Glad to see that you had time on your break from the stage, and giving out lapdances to post such a thought provoking comment. Rondo timid? Horrible jumper, YES! Timid…, fool please! He’s 6′ 1 and 150 lbs soaking wet, yet is fearless when going to the hole. How this received 2 thumbs up is amazing… LOL!!

      • mrsdestinydevine - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:02 PM

        Dr. NJSteeler, you suck! Like do you even watch the same games I watch when he plays? Why dont you just go somewhere sit down and color, and let those of us who really knows the game talk ball. OK. I will continue to say it, ya boy is timid. He’s a horrible shooter, and a even worse free throw shooter. Toss him and bring someone two the team that can really get things done.

  6. 00maltliquor - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    I hate the Celtics. Hate, hate, hate the C’s.
    That being said, I think Rondo is unbelievable. To trade him would be idiodic. Who cares if he can’t consistantly hit a J? Main goal for a PG is to run an offense consistantly, pass the ball, play good perimeter D and get others involed. Rondo does all that and then some. He’s a hell of a rebounder too. Personally I don’t want my PG to be a great scorer, just a great QB giving everyone else thier shine and play stellar defense while doing it.

  7. chitownmatt - Dec 29, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Nothing wrong with Rondo’s game…
    But he might have one too many issues in his head.

  8. havlicekstoletheball - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    Brian Windhorst needs a drug screening. Build a team around Rondo?

    Rondo cannot shoot AT ALL. He made a few jumpers in the first three games, but the illusion is that he is shooting well because he gets a lot of layups (until defenses back off him) and we are used to see him not make ANY jumpers, or even shoot any.

    His free throw shooting is abysmal. And he is a point guard, the guy you want with the ball in his hands down the stretch in a tight game. But you can’t, because he shoots 60% from the line.

    Both shortcomings (especially the free throws) are skills that can be greatly remedied with off-season work. That he hasn’t in five years speaks volumes.

    Rondo is just good enough to lose with, and just spectacular enough to get the network commentators all in a lather a few times a game. Note how silent they will be when Rondo misses six straight 17-footers and/or his man is two steps into the paint clogging the passing lane.

    • mrsdestinydevine - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      THANK YOU! I’m glad someone feels how I feel. He’s horrible, period. So, why try to build a team around a dude who cant shoot a jumper, and is horrible from the line.

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