Posted by Neil Paine on October 8, 2009
"Has Rondo really progressed to the point that he should be considered one of the 10 best overall defensive players? Frankly, this seemed at first glance premature. Rondo is undoubtedly a good defensive player. He’s long, smart and annoying as hell on the ball. But he’s also a gambler, and we’ve seen him compromise our defensive structure going for those reach-around steals. [...] My naked-eye impression is that he is overrated as a screen/roll defender.
Of course, ranking players based on their defense is fraught with problems. The NBA is a team game, and different teams use different schemes. Some switch on screen-rolls; some don’t. Some help more aggressively than others. Trying to evaluate a single player outside of his team defensive scheme is a little like ripping a few pages out of a book and judging the author based on those pages.
That said, there are some metrics that at least attempt to measure a player’s defensive ability. I checked them all to see if Rajon really does deserve to be mentioned among the league’s elite defenders.
And you know what? We might be that point with him already."
We've been big Rondo backers for a while now, and the projections for this season see him as -- shocker alert! -- Boston's most valuable player (mainly for his defense) if Kevin Garnett loses a step after missing most of the 2nd half of last season due to injury. So it's nice to see that the league's top personnel evaluators are also starting to take note of Rondo's D as well.