Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Pick a point guard: Rajon Rondo or Chris Paul?
Steve Aschburner: One lesson I learned as a kid was, when divvying up something between two people, one person slices, the other chooses. That way, the one with the knife cuts as evenly as possible. That’s where I see us with this question — hard to go wrong either way. To answer, I’ll go culinary again: I may be Mr. Bland as far as not liking spicy food but I do like spicy point guards. Rondo is feistier overall (unless it’s Pau Gasol cupping Paul’s head) and, for me, his defensive game makes up for any alleged edge Paul has as a shooter (check out their career FG marks, though, and be surprised). I trust his durability more, too, just based on their personal histories. Give me Rondo, then. But, really though, I’d be happy with either slice.
Fran Blinebury: Rondo has the goods in terms of physical skills, but there remains a question around the league about his quirky personality and ability to lead. Would he be all that without Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce at his back? We have seen Chris Paul lift the Hornets into the playoffs and take the Clippers to a level they have not been before. And he’s still got the best handle in the game. Give me CP3.
Jeff Caplan: Man, this is tough. My gut instinct immediately says CP3 all the way, best all-around PG going. Yet, you just can’t ignore what Rondo continues to do. The guy won of a championship and nearly got two. What if Dwyane Wade doesn’t dislocate Rondo’s elbow in 2011? He averaged a double-double in last year’s playoffs and nearly got the Celtics past the Heat and into the Finals. Paul’s still trying to get out of the second round, granted with weaker teams than Rondo’s. Maybe this is the year. Right now Paul isn’t even hitting his 3s at a much better rate than Rondo. Ah heck, give me: Rondo.
Scott Howard-Cooper: I’m taking Chris Paul. I’m not anti-Rondo, but Paul is the complete player: assist man, dependable shooter with range, defense, attitude. The only drawback is size — 6-foot, 175 pounds — compared to the wave of bigger point guards with star talent (Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook), but Paul seems to have managed to get by.
John Schuhmann: I’ll take Chris Paul with no hesitation. Rondo is a brilliant player at times, but I think Paul just does so much more for his team’s offense. As great as Rondo has been and as many assists as he’s dished out, the Celtics have been a pretty mediocre offensive team over the last few years. Paul is much more of a threat to beat you three different ways (with the shot, pass or dribble) offensively and he also does a better job of taking care of the ball. I don’t think there’s too much of a difference defensively, but I’d also take Paul on that end of the floor. And when it comes to leadership and attitude, the answer is obvious.
Sekou Smith: This is the age-old dilemma, do you take the Mercedes or the BMW? You’re driving off the lot with a luxury car either way, right? This is more about preference than it is a right or wrong answer. Both of these guys have shown that they are capable of leading a team to elite status. And both of them rank high in all of the leadership categories you’d want in a floor general. So again, this is more about what type of point guard you prefer, what type of style you like, rather than which of these two guys is the better point guard. So much of this depends on the context, basically who would I surround either Rondo or Paul with. But if I have an established team already and the point guard I choose is the final piece to the puzzle, I’m going with Paul. He has everything Rondo has and his offensive arsenal is far more advanced at this stage of their careers.