Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook are two of the players who figure to lead the NBA into the next generation. There isn’t a thing they can’t do and each has their own individual strengths. But for the past couple of months, both have faced criticism. Their styles have come under fire: Rondo for being too passive, Russ for attacking too much. It comes with the territory. Much is expected of them. But as different as they are, at their core they’re both fantastic guards regardless of what some people say.
Who’s better? We argue. You decide.
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The amount of players that make others around them better in the NBA can be counted on two hands. They are a rare commodity. Rajon Rondo happens to fit in that category. With the decline of Steve Nash, Rondo is the best playmaker in the league. His ability to create for others is simply unmatched in the NBA. He averaged 13.2 assists per game in November and December combined, and finished the year just behind Nash for the NBA lead in assists at over 11 per game. That’s three more assists than Russell Westbrook averaged.
Some could make the argument that this is a function of the players around him, but that simply is not the case. Watching Rondo play, it’s obvious that his elite level of quickness and court vision allows players such as Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Glen Davis to do what they do best: spot up and shoot.
The point guard is supposed to be the facilitator for the rest of the team. They rely on him to get the rest of the players on the court involved and there is no doubt that Rondo is significantly more reliable than Westbrook. Westbrook’s 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio compared to Rondo’s 3.3 assist-to-turnover ratio speaks for itself.
Also, something that frustrates many about Westbrook is his tendency to take questionable shots. There is no doubt that Westbrook is a better shooter, but he doesn’t need to take many of the wild shots that he does. Rondo plays within himself, always focusing on how he can manage all of the players around him. This is no easy task either. Since Rondo is playing around a core of three potential Hall of Famers, satisfying three gargantuan egos isn’t easy. Somehow, Rondo knows how to keep everyone happy, while managing to explode for occasional big scoring nights.
He might not be a high-volume scorer, but Rajon Rondo is a master of the point guard position, something Russell Westbrook is not.