ESPN ran some numbers and ranked the top 10 point guards for this coming year. Due to his injury, there wasn't enough data to rank Rajon Rondo, but apparently even if he did qualify, his ranking wouldn't have made many of us happy.
Rajon Rondo's existing injury limits his forecast to 48 games and a 4.7 WARP. It's an uncertain process with guys coming off serious injuries, but the one-year anniversary of his knee surgery isn't until Feb. 12. With a full projection of games played, Rondo's winning percentage would have landed him between Lawson and Lillard in the rankings.
In case you don't have Insider, that would put him 9th in the league.
The usual suspects are ahead of Rondo (Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose) as well as some younger guys that you could make a good case for (Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry), but when you start getting down into names like Michael Conley, Kyle Lowry, and Ty Lawson then I have to throw up the stop sign and say "woah, woah, woah."
A fully healthy Rondo runs circles around those guys and at times demands to be spoken of with the top point guards in the league. There's the rub though. He's currently recovering and we aren't sure exactly what he's going to look like this year. I'll let Jay King take a swing at this take.
With all due respect to everyone who now plans to picket the ESPN headquarters ("yah telling me Damian Lillahd is bettah than Rondo?"), Boston's star obviously represents a major question mark entering the season. I don't mean that in a "he might be a huge pain in Brad Stevens' rear" sense either. Recovery from ACL surgery isn't simple. Just ask Ricky Rubio, who shot 34 percent from the field before the All-Star break last season, or Derrick Rose, who never felt comfortable enough to return even after the Chicago Bulls advanced to the second round of the playoffs a full year after his injury. I know Rondo didn't suffer a fully torn ACL like those guys, but he relies on speed and quickness, and he might not have either close to 100 percent by the time the season starts. He'll also be playing without multiple All-Stars alongside him for the first time since his rookie season.
So in my mind, I'm imagining Rondo back at full speed at some point - I just don't know when that will be. I happen to think that he's only going to keep getting better as he refines his game, so long as he hasn't lost too much explosion and change-of-direction quickness.
How good will he be next year? That's anyone's guess. But feel free to debate it in the comments! (hint hint)