We usually do our best-by-position posts before the season begins, but this on is slightly different, a bit more narrowed down. I think there’s no arguing about the point guard position being the deepest in the NBA right now, full of All-Star caliber players. Still, with all due respect to Westbrook, Nash, Deron Williams and Tony Parker, the three best point guards in the league are Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose. Who’s the best right now?
Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
Stats – 15.9 Points, 9.6 Assists, 3.9 Rebounds, 2.4 Steals in 35.8 Minutes a night.
Less minutes, less points, less assists, less everything pretty much. Is Paul not as good as he was before the injury? Wrong. He’s not their top scorer, but Paul is pretty much everything for the New Orleans Hornets, currently 7th in the West (37-29), two games ahead of the Suns in 9th. With an uncertain future while being run by the league itself, Chris Paul remains the only valuable asset in New Orleans, although it’s very uncertain he’ll stay there very long. The team as well.
Paul is playing less, but is doing whatever is necessary for his team to win. His shooting is a bit off this season, so he shoots less. He can still drop 25 when needed, but seems to be more in the business of winning than putting up awesome stats. Can easily be a 20-10 guy if he was into that. I don’t know if Paul feels that is NBA future will take him somewhere else next season (if there will even be a next season), but he isn’t showing it. Despite all of his effort, anything beyond a first round in the playoffs will be a huge surprise.
Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Stats – 10.8 Points, 12.2 Assists, 4.4 Rebounds, 2 Steals in 37.9 Minutes a night.
Boston most important player. Has been for the last two seasons. Rondo is leading the league in assists and out of the three guys on this list is the only one with an NBA title and who has been to the NBA finals. Rondo’s main weakness is his outside shooting. So he’s hardly shooting any 3’s and settling for high percentage shots (over 50% from the field). Still tends to disappear in the fourth quarters, at least offensively, but his defense is probably the best in the league at point guard position. Despite Kevin Garnett’s return this season and Paul Pierce still leading the Celt’s in scoring most nights, the success in the playoffs mostly relys on Rondo and his ability to do it all.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Stats – 24.6 Points, 8.1 Assists, 4.3 Rebounds in 37.8 Minutes a night.
Before the All-Star break I was for LeBron James winning the MVP. Since then? Derrick Rose, all the way. The third year poind guard is leading the Bulls to their best season since Jordan, Pippen and co. ruled the league. Does it mean the Bulls are finally ready for a long playoff push? Rose has twice lost in the first round of the playoffs, but this season looks different. The Bulls are for real, as they showed multiple times against the Miami Heat and also the Spurs not too long ago. Rose has gotten rid of his outside shooting troubles and looks unstoppable when driving to the basket. This looks like the season when Rose takes the Bulls for a memorable playoff ride that can possibly end with a title.
Now, who’s the best? Before the season began I would have picked Paul ahead of both Rose and Rondo. I would have picked Deron Williams as well. The way Rondo jumped out of the gate, along with the Celtics, with the effort he puts in every night, with his ability as a playmaker improving constantly and his excellent defense every night made me think otherwise. Then came Rose, without Boozer in the beginning of the season and until not to recently without Noah and blew everyone away. He’s not perfect, not offensively and certainly not defensively, but he’s the best athlete out of the three and the most explosive. He can impose himself on the game better than Rondo and Paul. Paul is the best passer in the league along with Steve Nash, but doesn’t have the talent Rondo has around him. If Chris Paul was on a different, better team, I might be going with him, but until that happens I have to give Rose the edge, that’s based on opinion and viewing. An interesting way to compare would be the head to head matchups – here how they went so far:
Paul vs Rondo – No Decision.
Only one meeting (next one in just over a week) back on New Year’s. Both teams were kind of in a tough stretch back then, but the Hornets handed the Celtics their second home loss of the season and third in four games. Rondo didn’t play and Chris Paul had a huge night, scoring 20 points, dishing 11 assists and finishing with six steals.
Rondo vs Rose – Slight Advantage Rose.
First meeting was way back in early November, as the Celtics beat the Bulls 110-105 in overtime. The Bulls didn’t have the best of starts. Rose had a rough shooting night (8-19) finishing with 18 points and 9 assists. Rondo scored 10 points with 11 assists and 4 steals.
Second meeting was again in Boston and another C’s win. Rose had 20 points and 8 assists but it was never close. Rondo was excellent against with 12 points and 19 assists.
A month later Chicago got a win over Boston in the United Center, 90-79. This was all Derrick Rose. He scored 36 points in one of his best performances. Rondo finished with 14 points and 6 assists as the Celtics got smothered in the Chicago D. There will be a fourth meeting in Chicago, and it looks like the home advantage will be extra crucial. Boston have the edge over the Bulls at the moment (2.5 games), with a playoff clash very much possible.
Paul vs Rose – Rose
The Bulls beat the Hornets twice this season, with Chris Paul missing the game in New Orleans last Monday. In the Chicago meeting Rose scored 23 points with six assists while Paul scored 15, adding six assists. Against a sans-Paul Hornets, Rose scored 24 points and dished 9 assists.
I gotta go with Rose ahead of Rondo right now, although the playoffs might tell a different story.