Monday, February 7, 2011

Rondo vs. Rose.

Why does Paul Pierce always seem to make faces like that while he's playing basketball? Well, despite the weird facial action, the Celtics rolled up the Magic this weekend with a 91-80 win. The game kind of came out slow, but eventually Rajon Rondo took control and took the game into his own hands. Mr. Super Assist scored a season high 26 points, and even had Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy saying, "He totally dominated us," after the game. Kendrick Perkins had 13 rebounds, while Garnett (16 & 9), Pierce (18), Ray Ray (11), and Big Baby (11) all had double digit point efforts.

Clearly, though, Rajon was the star. If you read this blog, you realized that I was more than a little cheesed about Bulls' hero Derrick Rose getting picked as one of the East's starting guards, while Rondo was later selected for the backup spot. Now, keep in mind that basketball is probably the "major" sport that I know the least about, and I only watch the Celtics, so obviously my opinion is a little slanted. So, that made me want to do an actual comparison of the two players. Who is better? Rondo or Rose? Join me on a statistical journey of their 2010/2011 campaigns-thus-far to see who should be the starter, and who should be the backup.

We'll start with some "normal" per game stats:

Rose: 24.4 PPG, 8.2 APG, .445 FG%
Rondo: 10.9 PPG, 12.4 APG, .516 FG%

Rose is clearly the more controlling and scoring kind of guard, and he takes way more shots than Rondo per game (20 vs 9.4). They are different kinds of players, which makes comparing via these stats a little difficult, but if we add total points to total assists to come up with a "hockey point" total, we see Rose come out way on top (1565 to 909). If only we could determine how many points resulted in each assists, maybe we could have a better comparison.

We'll try and compare via Basketball Reference's "advanced" stats. PER (Player Efficiency Rating) shows us a standardized measure of per minute production, so that 15 is the league average. Win Shares are, obviously, the number of wins a player contributes to their team. ORtg is the estimate of the number of points a player would get with 100 possessions. If you read the blog, you're familiar: 

Rose: 22.7 PER, 7.1 Win Shares, 110 ORtg
Rondo: 18.8 PER, +4.7 Win Shares, 97 ORtg

I always try to let the numbers speak for themselves when I compare players, and I'm always monitoring myself to make sure I don't twist numbers (or leave some out) to prove my side of the argument. I think that's what helps to make for a good post. In the case of this comparison between Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose, I think I have shown that my anger about who got the starting nod for the Eastern All Stars was an uninformed anger. Clearly, when comparing the advanced value stats provided by Basketball Reference, Derrick Rose is having a much better season than Rajon. I'll give credit where credit is due.

Still, I'm happy with the second best guard in the Conference, and I'll take him on my team against the 21-29 Charlotte Robert-Cats later this afternoon. My 38-12 Celtics (first place in the East by 1.5 games over "The Heat Matthews Band") are 4.5 point favorites, but I'm more interested in seeing Ray Allen bury four 3s. If he makes just four three-pointers, he will become the greatest 3-point shooter in the history of the NBA (by which I mean, he'll become the all-time 3 point leader).

God's speed, Jesus Shuttlesworth.

P.S. I am man enough to say I was wrong, and the Green Bay Packers proved me crazy wrong by winning yesterday's Super Bowl. I think I had the Steelers by at least 10, even though I was rooting for the Pack. Nice work, GB.

-- Sent from my Palm Prē

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