Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook were linked via trade talks at the beginning of this season that envisioned the Celtics and Thunder swapping their point guards.
Rondo had more trade rumors surrounding his name than Westbrook but the thought of the two being traded was an interesting prospective.
The two obviously stayed put and helped lead their teams to the Conference Finals. The Celtics and Thunder are both down 0-2 now. Would this be the case if Rondo were on OKC and Westbrook a Celtic?
Rondo is just coming off perhaps the best game of his career in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Miami. He played all 53 minutes of an overtime loss, scored a career-high 44 points to go with 10 assists, eight rebounds and three steals.
Westbrook is back to receiving the same criticism that he did last year in the playoffs. The Thunder have lost two in a row to the Spurs and he is shooting more than Kevin Durant.
Rondo and Westbrook are both very different players who would completely change the other’s team if they were traded for each other.
Would the Thunder be better overall with Rondo instead of Westbrook?
Rondo would help Durant reach his potential as an offensive player quicker than Westbrook is helping him. Rondo has led the league in assists the past two seasons and is one of the best in the league at getting great shooters great looks.
Durant would thrive playing with Rondo and you could envision him scoring well over 30 points per game.
Rondo would also be able to extract the most out of Oklahoma City’s offensively challenged bigs. Kendrick Perkins might not become an offensive stud but Serge Ibaka might really take off alongside Rondo.
Ibaka possesses a very formidable midrange game and is one of the best athletes in the league. Looking at what Rondo does with Brandon Bass, he and Ibaka could become very deadly together.
James Harden would also probably get better overall with Rondo. Harden would even make more sense as a starter with Rondo instead of Westbrook since Rondo isn’t someone who needs to shoot even at all to be effective.
Harden has some Paul Pierce in his DNA and is a pretty good spot-up shooter so he would definitely fit right in next to Rondo running the show.
The Thunder would lose one of the true offensive studs in the league right now in Westbrook. Westbrook does so many things for this team and at times becomes the best player on the floor, even better than Durant.
The Thunder are better when Westbrook shoots more than Durant given their current roster and style of play. It can be criticized but it has worked.
But if the Thunder becoming a championship team means Durant needs to reach new heights, Westbrook could be holding him back in a sense while Rondo would aid Durant in his ascension to legend status.
Durant-Westbrook-Harden-Ibaka is only 90 years old. They will keep improving. Durant and Westbrook may coexist well enough to eventually win a title.
Westbrook will get the blame if they don’t and all we’ll be able to do is wonder if Rondo could have made a difference.
Tags: Boston Celtics Championship Eastern Conference Finals James Harden Kendrick Perkins Kevin Durant Miami Heat NBA Finals Paul Pierce Rajon Rondo Russell Westbrook San Antonio Spurs Serge Ibaka Western Conference Finals