Rajon Rondo and the 2006 NBA DRAFT:
Look, I know its early to look back on a draft but I am going to do it anyway.
The first pick made was also the first international player to go # 1 overall : Andrea Bargnani. So far, you can certainly question that pick but the draft overall at least at this point will be looked at as one of the weaker drafts in recent memory.
In my opinion there is one exception :
Rajon Rondo : Phoenix must be kicking themselves right now as there couldn't have been a better fit than Rondo playing in the fast paced Phoenix offense.The Suns essentially sold this pick to Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics at # 21 and without hesitation Rondo became the pick. There was definetely some risk involved here for Boston as Rondo's college career was a rocky ride on the court due to consistency and player role issues and off the court due to a embattled relationship with Coach Tubby Smith. The biggest negative regarding Rondo was his outside shooting prowess. At the time NBA GM's were looking for that zone busting three point shooting point guard, not your old school play maker type. Guards selected before Rondo included:
Brandon Roy at # 6 who is a top notch SG for Portland
Randy Foye at # 7 who is more of a combo guard,and has battled injuries
JJ Redick at # 11 NBA quality shooter and not much else
Thabo Sefolosha at # 13, combo guard not a gamebreaker, selected too early.
Ronnie Brewer at # 14, good pick; defensive standout and will be one of the best players in this draft.
Quincy Douby at # 19, good scorer in NCAA, not so much in the NBA due to strength and not being able to hold his own defensively has cut his minutes.
So as you see, theres only one guard that you can make an argument that his draft selection justifies itself and that's Brandon Roy. Ronnie Brewer, although a solid NBA guard is simply not an outstanding player by any means.
Now, for the forwards and centers drafted before Rondo, there are two standouts :
LaMarcus Aldridge # 2, once again here's another quality NBA player but being worthy of the # 2 pick is questionable.
Rudy Gay at # 8, is now coming into his own as a player. In fact I would put him in the top three players in this draft and anyone who doesn't think so is crazy.
So now back to Rondo, who I'll remind you was picked at # 21. Was there really 20 players picked ahead of him? Seriously? There are some truly gruesome picks in this draft for sure and NBA GM's have been known to be total morons but come on now.
The top three in the 2008 Hindsight NBA Draft would go something like Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo. Wait, Rajon Rondo? But he can't even consistently shoot free throws why would he be drafted in the top three? Well, there is a mostly forgotten art in today's NBA and that is hustle. Hustle and raw talent combined with the motivation to be a better player is the mix that makes up Rajon Rondo. You want twenty point scorers who are plentiful (right now there are 31 players above 20 ppg)then draft Roy or Gay. I'll gladly take Rondo over either of those players any day. A great defensive point guard is a rare commodity these days and one that can slash and make plays going to the hoop is even more in demand. Now, is Rondo a great shooter, not by any means. The key is that he is working hard at it and it is consistently improving while at the same time Rondo knows his limits. He takes shots in the flow of the offense like a traditional point guard and drives when he can. His # 1 priority is finding the open man, almost to a fault. Rondo is what a PG should be. He's a winner and should make his first All Star roster this season.
It has to be noted that Rondo happens to play with three future Hall of Famers in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. That will make life easier for any young PG, right? Wrong! Sure, those players can make Rondo look better than he is but the fact is that without Rondo the Celtics team suffers almost like the Lakers without Kobe. It's hard to imagine one player especially a young PG who can make that much of a difference to a veteran team. There is also immense pressure when playing with a talent like Garnett who is not afraid to get in your face when you make a mistake. Rondo was able to handle whatever has been thrown at him in his young career and I am going out on a limb here and saying that he will go down as the best overall player in the 2006 NBA Draft.