Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
ESPN.com's Awards Watch is one of our favorite features, a weekly look at who might take home some hardware at season's end. Sure, it's virtually impossible to predict these things less than a month into the season, but with a 10-game sampling size for most teams, it's time to start making some educated guesses.
Curator Maurice Brooks pegs Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo at No. 2 in the MVP voting, a lofty spot considering that only Paul Pierce flirted with the list last season (Boston's overall depth preventing anyone from making a serious charge at the league's top honor).
Writes Brooks on Rondo: "If you are going to dominate in every other aspect of the game, you don't need a jumper to play at an All-NBA level. Nobody's better than Rondo right now at making teammates better."
Hooray for inflammatory headlines!! Where did I put my troll spray? I'm gonna need it for this one.
Look, non-Celtics fans reading this post, I damn well realize that 10 games into the season is WAAAY too damn early to be having MVP discussions. So save it. However, I can already tell that there will be a bunch of comments left here without anyone reading. What are you gonna do?
Let's take a brief look at Rondo's impact on the C's and why him being right behind CP3 is just about right.
Going back to yesterday's statistical breakdown: Of the 15.1 assists per game, three are three-pointers. So he's directly responsible for 33 points a game just via the assist. He's averaging just under 11 points (10.8) so we'll just round up and add that to the total… and we're up to 44 points a game he accounts for. On top of that Rondo gets his teammates to the free throw line by setting them up for what would have been assists but they end up getting fouled… or they get an and-one. I feel comfortable adding 5 points per game from the line (at least) that Rajon Rondo is directly responsible for.
The Celtics are scoring 101 points per game… and Rajon Rondo is directly responsible for about half of those points. And now if only he could hit his free throws and knock down another shot or two… we'd be looking at Rondo generating 60% of the C's offense.
Those are MVP numbers to me. As for Kobe… he's always gonna be in the MVP mix. The simple fact is that Pau Gasol has been their best player so far, though. Kobe's coming off finger and knee surgery… and he's turned the corner in his career so he'll probably start to slow down soon. So he'll have to work his way back into "Kobe" form. If it wasn't for Pau, they wouldn't be 8-2. So the rankings seem solid to me.
On Page 2: Our feelings on Delonte summed up quite nicely
He was a great player; a hard-nosed, ultra-competitive guy who any contender would be lucky to have. But up until this summer, West had priced himself out of Boston. As long as the Big 3 (and Rondo) was around, West couldn’t be. How often does a player return to a team that trades, anyway? We just assumed West was gone.
But when he hit rock bottom this summer, there was only one place he could turn. Or, more accurately, there was only place which turned to him; one place that wanted to give him another chance.
And that chance finally, and officially starts tonight.
It’s been almost four years now since West and I squared off in our PlayStation beat down. And since then, the young, optimistic and carefree 23-years-old I met that day has been through more than I could ever imagine; certainly more than I can do justice within this paragraph.
Back then, I had hopes that Boston would be the place where West built his career.
Now, I’ll settle for it being the place where he saves it.
Not EVERYONE shares such fond thoughts of Delonte… but I couldn't agree with Rich Levine more here. Go check out his piece.
And not only are we excited for the return of Delonte (which is great timing with Marquis Daniels missing the game to deal with a family issue)…. we're excited to revisit the trade that sent him out of town in the first place.
Back in 2007, the C's packaged him, Wally Szczerbiak and Jeff Green for Ray Allen and Glen Davis. With Delonte back now, the trade is really Wally and Green for Ray and Baby. It still worked out very well for Seattle, now OKC, because they got a good player and, ultimately, cap flexibility. Meanwhile, the C's have Ray, who is still great, and Baby, who is making a strong case for 6th man of the year.
Great trade on both sides, really.
But we're looking forward to Delonte's return. Welcome back.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Allen proves his game is more than long range | Perk shoots for a speedy recovery | ESPN Boston: Delonte Rarin' to go | C's brace for no Daniels | Herald: Big Baby stands his ground | Injury bug hits Jermaine O'Neal again | Globe: They're charged up about Baby's contribution | Baby stars in new children's book | MWDN: Baby growing up for C's