Dwyane Wade, the newest member of the Chicago Bulls, has played with his fair share of superstars. He’ll be joining Jimmy Butler this year, and spent time as a teammate to Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James during his prime.
Although his teams have been wildly successful, the three-time champ hasn’t had the best backcourt mates. Throughout his career, Gary Payton, Jason Williams, and Mario Chalmers are some of the guys who occupied the point guard position. Each of those guys was respectable, but they weren’t premier guards.
Chuck Garfien of CSN Chicago reported that Wade called his newest teammate, Rajon Rondo, the “best point guard [he’s] ever played with.” Rondo signed a two-year, $27 million deal with the Chicago Bulls after reviving his career with the Sacramento Kings, oddly enough.
Wade’s comments aren’t to disrespect any of the guys he shared the backcourt with in Miami. When Payton was there, he was at the end of his career and a shell of his former self; Williams was also a decent guard, but can’t be compared to the playmaker that Rondo is. Chalmers was the best point guard that Wade had played with up until this point. Rio was a guy who could be trusted to facilitate the offense effectively and allow Wade to work off-ball.
One could even argue that LeBron James was the best PG Wade ever played with. Although he doesn’t play that “position,” that aren’t many guys in NBA history who have the basketball IQ, court vision, and passing ability that the King does.
Rondo is something who’s comparable to James in that regard. Back at the start of the decade, a case could’ve been made for Rondo as the best pure point guard because of his dazzling passing ability and high IQ. Over a five-year stretch from 2009-14, Rondo averaged a staggering 10.7 assists per game and was voted to four All-Star teams.
The drawback was that he was hurt–regularly. Out of 410 games over those years, Rondo appeared in just 270.
After a down year two seasons ago, Rondo returned to his old form with the Kings, and that was because he had total control of the offense. I’m rather hesitant to compare someone like Chris Paul and Rondo, but they’re similar because they make things happen when they dictate the offense; that’s a primary reason the Dallas Mavericks and Rondo had a falling out.
With an average of 11.7 assists per game last season, Rondo was the league leader, so it’s evident he can make plays. The difference between him and Paul, however, is that Paul always finds a way to make the safe pass. Rondo can get flashy at times which leads to silly turnovers.
Despite turning the ball over more than some might like, his wicked unselfishness makes everyone look good. And this will happen to both Butler and Wade this season.
Chicago’s offense was mediocre last year, so expect Fred Hoiberg to hand the reigns over to Rondo entirely. They didn’t have a true point guard orchestrating last season, and they ultimately suffered because of it. Now that they have someone who can take on that role, their offense will change dramatically.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference