Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti should have traded Russell Westbrook for Rajon Rondo when he had the chance. Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge was willing to trade Rondo for Westbrook, but Presti declined.
Now, a lot of people would say why make a deal? The Thunder are 29-8 and the top seed in the West. But, they have some issues. They are 27th in the NBA with just 18.1 assists per game, and ball movement is key in basketball.
A lot is placed on Westbrook’s shoulders to initiate the offense as the point guard for OKC, but there’s one problem. He’s not a true point guard. His assists have declined the last few seasons. He averaged 8.2 assists per game in 2010-11, but just 5.5 this season. In addition, he is leading the league in turnovers at 4.3 per game.
Why do I think Presti should have done it? Quite simply, Rondo is a true PG who has great court vision and would help the Thunder. Ainge would do it because it gives the Celtics a player to rebuild around with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen possibly leaving this offseason as free agents. Rondo is a pass-first player who would have no problem taking a backseat to superstar Kevin Durant. He isn’t the scorer Westbrook is, but James Harden could start at shooting guard and make up the scoring difference. Harden is having a very good season and may never achieve his full potential with Westbrook on the Thunder.
Rondo is also a relentless defender and can rebound like Jason Kidd. He just had another triple double (15 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds) after hearing more rumors about Boston shopping him around the league like a Black Friday sale. On Sunday against Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks, Rondo had 18 points, 20 assists and a career-high 17 rebounds in a Celtics overtime win.
Rondo won’t have a problem deferring to Durant, who has the ability to be a 35-point scorer. The game against the Magic on March 1 was an excellent example. He made 12 of 21 field goals (including all nine free throws) and finished with a game-high 38 points.
Durant might praise his teammate Westbrook, but it has to be eating him up inside. Twice in the last year they’ve had confrontations. It reminds me of the Kevin Garnett-Stephon Marbury dynamic when the two butted heads in Minnesota.
Darren Jacks is a contributor to OneManFastBreak.net. Send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.