It’s a question that’s bounced around the interwebs quite a bit over the last couple days, and it’s especially pertinent right now given that (a) Derrick Rose humiliated Rajon Rondo last week in their head-to-head meeting in Chicago and (b) Rose overtook Rondo this week in the voting to start this year’s All-Star Game. Even though he’s still only in his third season, Rose may already be the best point guard in the Eastern Conference.
The evidence is mounting. Rose dropped a shiny 36 points to Rondo’s 13 when the two met last Saturday at the United Center, and he’s now on pace to start next month in L.A. alongside Dwyane Wade and the East All-Stars. Rose is now the go-to crunch-time scorer on a team that will likely open the playoffs at home this spring. Very impressive for a 22-year-old.
So if you’re running the Celtics, do you pull the trigger? Do you swap Rondo for Rose?
God, no. Don’t you even think about it.
Rose is a fantastic player, but this isn’t a question of individual talent. It’s about team, it’s about fit. It’s about winning games.
If you’re starting a basketball team from scratch and you can build around one East point guard, you take Rose. If you’re running any one of the NBA’s other 28 squads outside of Boston and Chicago and you need one East point guard, you take Rose.
But if you’re the Celtics?
Rondo’s your guy.
Rondo is a player who thrives on making everyone around him better. Unlike Rose, he doesn’t care about his own scoring — on the contrary, he’s obsessed with the assist, perhaps even to a fault. He’s almost never seen a pass he didn’t like.
When you’ve got four Hall of Famers stationed around your point guard, and each one wants the ball in a certain spot at a certain time in a certain manner, you want the guy who can be the playmaker. You want the guy who can make everyone else better. That’s Rondo.
The Bulls are doing just fine without a Rondo. They’ve got a guy who dominates with the ball in his hands, takes 20 shots a night, and scores unlike any point guard we’ve seen in the NBA in years.
So would the Celtics trade Rondo? No. And would the Bulls trade Rose? That’s a no, too. Each side is happy with the guy they’ve got, and with good reason.
And each time these two stars meet, the rivalry only gets better. No one wants to give that up, either.