Overall this season, the Celtics' fourth-year point guard has been an absolute stud. He leads the NBA in steals with 82, and he's second only to Steve Nash in assists with 298. He's averaging 13.2 points per game, a career high. He's becoming more assertive as a playmaker by the day, and he's already among the league's best defenders to boot.
And in four games since Pierce hit the shelf, Rondo is averaging 20 points and 9.3 assists. He has two double-doubles; his 30-point, 15-assist effort on Monday at Golden State made him only the third Celtic ever to join the 30-15 club. The first two? None other than Bob Cousy and Larry Bird.
Clearly, Rondo is making a name for himself. So why hasn't the rest of the NBA noticed?
In all three All-Star voting updates released over the course of the past month, Rondo has run eighth among Eastern Conference guards. Dwyane Wade, predictably, is blowing away the rest of the field; Allen Iverson stands to land the second starting spot, while Vince Carter, Ray Allen, Gilbert Arenas, Derrick Rose and Joe Johnson are all well ahead of Rondo as well.
If I'm Rondo, I'm none too happy.
Iverson is the most blatant injustice of the lot; he may well be the first ever All-Star starter to alienate a team, retire, and announce his comeback a week later in a tearful "unretirement" speech. And even when active, his All-Star credentials are a joke.
Allen has been a stellar shooter for the Celtics this season, no denying that — but if you watch this team in action, you see that Rondo is the guard that really makes things go. Rose is a fine point guard, but he's regressed a tad since his superb rookie season; this year, he could be described as a poor man's Rondo. Carter, Johnson and Arenas are all dynamic scorers and worthy All-Star candidates, but next to Rondo, they're a bit one-dimensional.
It's tantalizing to think of just how dazzling a guard tandem of Wade and Rondo could be.
Picture the potential East All-Stars this February — Dwight Howard, KG, LeBron James, Wade and Rondo. They've got all the size and strength in the world, and at the guard positions, they've got the explosive scoring of Wade coupled with the defense, the passing ability and the game-changing athleticism that Rondo brings to the table.
How can you not love that?
Every All-Star squad has tons of scorers. When you've got LeBron and Wade, though, you're all set. But when you add more scoring prowess to the mix, it starts to become redundant — Vince, Agent Zero, how many scorers do you need?
Rondo would add another dimension to the East squad this season. He may only be 23 — barely a man off the court. But on the floor he's a leader, a guy that could guide a team full of superstars.
After all, that's what he's done in Boston. He's become a floor leader for a team full of great players, and he's earned the respect of them all. If he can lead Pierce and Allen, he'd have no problem guiding LeBron and Howard to victory.
Everything — the talent, the leadership ability, the numbers — suggests that Rondo is ready to represent his conference on the big stage. He's got it all going for him — everything except the support of the American public.