The Boston Celtics refused to include Rajon Rondo in the 2008 preseason trade that made them instant champions and championship contenders. They haven't looked back since, yet Rondo is often maligned for a lack of an outside shot.
Names like Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and young guns like John Wall are projected ahead of him. Williams, Paul and Rose have at least been to the playoffs, but placing Wall ahead of him is a travesty.
Williams is the only player I think is worth being in the same category as Rondo, because he knows how to run a team. His scoring prowess came as a surprise to those in the NBA, because he was mostly a setup man for Dee Brown at the University of Illinois. Brown had a cup of coffee in the NBA and Deron is considered a top-five NBA point guard.
Rondo still gets the edge because he has won two conference titles and one NBA Finals ring, the ultimate badge of honor for an NBA player. Since Rondo has been there, he is the NBA's most dangerous and valuable point man.
Chris Paul and Derrick Rose's assist numbers are misleading, because they give up the ball only when they do not have an available shot. They do not make their teammates better, although Rose may have the opportunity to change that because of his FIBA experience. Paul has yet to spur his supporting cast to greatness.
Scoring seems to be the hallmark for being elite at any position in the NBA, yet those scorers hardly win championships in their prime.
Bob McAdoo was an elite scorer early in his NBA career, winning the first of his three scoring championships in his second year. Kevin Durant is the closest in that regard, winning his first scoring championship in his first three years.
McAdoo won his two rings as a role player with the Los Angeles Lakers; Durant is just in the infancy of his career, so the jury is still out. He is considered the player a GM would most like to build around.
Rajon provides his team with more scoring opportunities than any of the aforementioned players. He is one of the top rebounders at his position, often flirting and achieving triple doubles in a Jason Kidd-like manner. What makes this remarkable is that he is only 6' 1" and Kidd is 6'4".
Kidd came into the league without a serviceable jump shot, but through hard work and dedication, he can now hit the open shot. Various reports and comments from his teammates show that Rondo puts in the required work.
He is the only point guard whose team consistently wins when his assist numbers are greater than his scoring output. I highly doubt Williams, Paul and Rose's teams could survive such a feat.
Paul is considered a great defender, yet Rondo outclasses him in defensive tenacity and resulting play.
The only thing NBA experts can find is that he lacks a consistent outside shot, but the kid just continues to win.
This upcoming season Celtic veterans are associating accolades like leader and quiet focus among others on Rondo. He understands it is his responsibility to balance the hodge-podge of personalities and egos in his charge.
Rondo is now entering his fifth season, and it will be necessary to see all of these things result in another All-Star appearance and another championship ring. By all accounts his preseason work ethic has him developing the necessary habits to accomplish these goals.