Monday , Nov , 24 , 2008 Oly Sandor

The best up-and-coming PG: Rajon Rondo, Devin Harris, or Derrick Rose?

I’m fascinated with the Eastern Conference’s young point guards. The Celtics’ Rajon Rondo has guided three Hall of Fame stars to a world championship. In New Jersey, Devin Harris has made Jason Kidd a memory, while ‘The Windy City’ loves Derrick Rose …

The best up-and-coming PG: Rajon Rondo, Devin Harris, or Derrick Rose?Each week, HoopsVibe the Blog will drop a player comparison for fans to weigh in on. We call it head-to-head … 

I used to wonder if the basketball Gods were punishing the Eastern Conference. For years, it seemed divine intervention chased, funnelled, and pushed the game’s top talent towards the Western Conference.

My favourite example is the 2005 NBA Draft. Sure, hindsight is a luxury, but Milwaukee and Atlanta, two Eastern Conference clubs, passed on Chris Paul and Deron Williams to take Andrew Bogut and Marvin Williams with the first two selections.

Paul and Williams are the only NBA’s best point guards. Bogut and Williams have had up-and-down careers. The Eastern Conference has narrowed the gap. Boston recently captured their 17th NBA Title, winning in captivating fashion over archrival Los Angeles.

However, I’m most fascinated with the Eastern Conference’s young point guards. The Celtics’ Rajon Rondo has guided three Hall of Fame stars to a world championship. In New Jersey, Devin Harris has made Jason Kidd a memory, while ‘The Windy City’ loves Derrick Rose.

In this edition of head-to-head, we compare Rondo, Harris, and Rose. As always, read the post, form an opinion, and get at us in the comment box with thoughts on the Eastern Conference’s best young table-setter. 

The Case For Rajon Rondo:  

He knows his role and stays composed. Last year, Rondo used what he had (quickness and an improving jump shot) to keep opponents from suffocating ‘The Big Three’. On defense, he applied terrifying pressure and clogged passing lanes.

But Rondo’s best attribute is his head. At the start of last season, he faced great expectations and intense scrutiny. There were questions about his shot, experience, and ability to lead three Hall of Fame players. Most expected him to crash like Wall Street and for GM Danny Ainge to upgrade the one-spot via trade.

Well, the Kentucky grad performed all season. He even shrugged off Boston’s late season acquisition of Sam Cassell and delivered in the NBA Finals. With Rondo at the helm, Boston in fact has ‘The Big Four’. Chances are, he’ll prove it again come playoff time.

The Case For Devin Harris: 

Since arriving in the NBA, Harris had shown promise. Unfortunately, he was a victim of politics in Dallas. Renegade owner Mark Cuban wanted to make headlines by trading for Jason Kidd, while former coach Avery Johnson wanted to build around the former University of Wisconsin star.

Owner won. Coach lost. Harris is now a Net.

New Jersey is the perfect place for him to blossom. Harris is the clear starter, the hub of a promising rebuilding effort after the club failed with The Big Three model of Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, and ‘J-Kidd’.

Harris has two major strengths: speed and efficiency. His afterburners pressure opposing teams and create opportunities. For example, Harris recently had a string of several back-to-back 30-point, 10-dime games. Most of his damage came from penetrating the lane, finding others or drawing contact, and getting to the free-throw line.  

Best of all, Harris is cheap. The Nets have him locked in for several years at an average of 8-9 million per season. 

The Case For Derrick Rose: 

Right now, Chicago’s Rose is without a thorn. The phenomenon is posting an epic 19 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds in his first season. The numbers are even more eye-popping when considering he played a single year of college ball.

Rose reminds me of Anfernee Hardaway. Before injuries and before the ‘Lil Penny’ machine hit, Hardaway was a superstar, do-it all guard with Orlando. Then the knee and apathy took over.

Rose also is multi-faceted with the added dimension of size. And he was Chicago’s starting point guard from day one, displacing the serviceable Kirk Hinrich (like ‘Penny’ did with Scott Skiles in Orlando).  

Look for Rose to win Rookie of the Year. This is just the beginning. Sky is the limit for the Bulls’ next superstar.

Our Call: Rose. I think highly of Rondo and Harris, but Chicago’s first year man has too great an upside.

Who is the Eastern Conference’s best young point guard? Rondo? Harris? Or Rose? Get at us in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of [email protected].