Rondo v. Wall?: A Reaction to the Dan Patrick Poll

On 24 June, Dan Patrick ran a poll on his website asking “Who would you take right now?”  The two choices: Rajon Rondo or John Wall.

I should be #1 all the time!

Really?  This is like asking who would you take right now — Carlos Boozer or Derrick Favors?  Is it not obvious that right now you would take Boozer?  It is just as obvious that you would take Rondo over Wall right now.  In both cases, you already know what Boozer and Rondo are capable of; Wall and Favors have not proven anything in the NBA and both only competed one year in college.

Any time you compare a current, established player with a new draftee, more times than not you will take the established player because you know what you are getting.  Perhaps the only time this would not happen would be in a comparison of, say, DeMarcus Cousins and Darko Milicic (although I do believe that the latter is improving).

Keep the following in mind — Rondo was 21st in the 2006 NBA Draft.  That was behind such “great” players as Adam Morrison, Shelden Williams, J.J. Redick, Quincy Douby, and Renaldo Balkman (!?).   Similarly, Boozer went in the second round of the 2002 draft (35th overall) and behind “all-stars” such as Nikoloz Tskitishvili (5th!?!?), Jared Jeffries, Marcus Haislip, Bostjan Nachbar, Qyntel Woods, Robert Archibald, and Vincent Yarbrough.

There is a reason that teams passed on Rondo (and Boozer).  While Rondo was drafted in the first round, remember that he was drafted by the Phoenix Suns and then traded to Boston.  The scouting report on Rondo was that he was not a great perimeter shooter (in his sophomore year at Kentucky, he shot 27.3 percent from beyond the arc), and struggled from the line (57.7 percent free throw shooter while in Lexington).  His defense was praised as was his character and ability to find the open man and (defensive) rebounding.

Interesting how that all still holds true both negatives (24 percent from 3-point land; 63 percent from the free throw line) and positives (4.4 rebounds per game; 6.8 assists per game and coming off a career high 9.8 APG in 2009-10; 1.9 steals per game and led the NBA in 2009-10 in SPG with 2.3).

So, if you compare Rondo now with Wall now, why would you not take Rondo?

But, compare Rondo in 2006 when he was drafted with Wall now.  You would take Wall.  While Wall has his downside — still developing his jumpshot; tends to turn it over a lot — Wall would have been chosen ahead of Rondo in 2006.  In 2010, Rondo would have still been in the first round, but probably mid- to late first round.

Yeah, I went first Rondo. Suck on that!!

Similarly, in four years, compare John Wall 2014 version with Rajon Rondo 2010 version.  See how Wall has progressed in that time.  Keep the comparisons the same.

Point here is that there was a major fallacy with that poll.  It is the same whenever people attempt to compare two teams from different eras — there is no accounting for changes in the game (looking at you ESPN and your laughable comparison of the 2005 Southern California Trojans with teams from the 50s and 60s).

You cannot compared a kid just coming out of college with an established NBA all-star and champion.  Well, you can but it makes you a damn fool!


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