If Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is still struggling to decide what to do with Rajon Rondo at this year’s trade deadline, he just got some reinforcement to hang onto the All-Star point guard from some of his peers.
Rondo was voted the 12th best player in the NBA to build around, according to a Sports Illustrated poll of 137 players throughout the league.
The 26-year-old was the fifth point guard on the list, ranking behind reining Eastern Conference MVP Derrick Rose (No. 5), Clippers star Chris Paul (No. 6), eight-time All-Star Steve Nash (No. 8) and the Nets’ Deron Williams (No. 10), who dropped 57 points on the Bobcats on Sunday.
Rookie Ricky Rubio checked in at No. 14 — somehow ahead of his teammate, Kevin Love. Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook was noticeably absent from the 15-player list.
Two-time MVP LeBron James was unsurprisingly the top choice, followed by Magic center Dwight Howard at No. 2. Kobe Bryant, the NBA’s current scoring leader, was No. 4 on the list.