When talking about just pure speed, it’s tough to find anyone more blinding than Rondo. Add that to his huge hands and you have the recipe to effective finishing at the rim. Phil Jackson used to marvel at Michael Jordan’s ability to contort his body and move the ball around in the air while still being able to hit shots. Rondo’s enormous hands give him the same advantage (that’s also one of the main reasons why he’s such a great rebounder). A first-time All-Star last year, Rondo has a great floater and is one of the best at maneuvering and throwing up shots from weird angles around the hoop. Most defenders never really know when he is going to shoot because his style is so different. Rondo hits 65 percent of his shots around the rim.He also benefits from being surrounded by a few pretty good players. As Boston moves forward and the ball is in his hands more often, Rondo might become the best in the NBA at this. And if he gets a decent 17-footer? Watch out.
I agree with both Sweeney’s analysis of Rondo’s game, and his penetrating point guard list, though I would probably include Tony Parker and exclude Deron Williams. Williams is probably the best point guard in the league, but, as Sweeney points out, only 31% of his shots come from in close. Williams is a true pick-and-roll point guard, and he utilizes the mid-range game better than almost anybody. On the other hand, Parker routinely is at the top of league in points in the paint.
Though Sweeney didn’t order the five point guards, here’s how I would rank them:
1. Chris Paul- The premier penetrating PG; Paul gets wherever he wants to on a basketball court, regardless of who is guarding him.
2.Derrick Rose- Similar to Rondo, in that his penetration is limited by his jumpshot. Almost as quick and Rondo, but stronger and more explosive.
3. Rajon Rondo- Probably the quickest guy in the NBA, but his penetration is limited by his weak outside shot. Defenders play WAY off him, daring him to shoot, making penetration that much harder.
4. Tyreke Evans- A perfect combination of size, speed, and power; hasn’t quite harnessed his game enough to move up any higher on this list.
5. Tony Parker- Parker in his prime would have been #1 on this list, but he’s lost a step or two, and has given up some of his minutes to George Hill.
Overall, an interesting read with some illuminating statistics. Definitely worth a look.
P.S.- Though Rondo may not be the best penetrator, he certainly is better than Rick Pitino.